The effect of aromatherapy on the patient outcomes of anxiety and sleep quality in coronary care unit patients
Anxiety and poor sleep quality in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) population are well documented. Traditionally, these problems are treated with drugs that are expensive and have harmful side effects. Complementruy therapies are gaining acceptance because they provide cost-effective and safe alternatives to achieve the desired outcomes.
Aromatherapy, the controlled use of essential oils to enhance health, is one example of a complementary therapy. It utilizes the healing properties of the oils and their odor. Aromatherapy appears to be most useful in achieving positive effects on such problems as anxiety, and insomnia.
A repeated measures design was used to examine the effects of a passivelydiffused 9-hour lavender aromatherapy treatment compared with a control on anxiety and sleep quality in CCU patients. A systematic random sampling technique was used to select 25 subjects admitted to the CCU of a large tertiary care hospital located in Southeast Texas. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), a 20-item instrument, was used to measure anxiety immediately before treatment, thirty to sixty minutes after treatment start, and upon awakening the next day. The Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire (RCSQ), a 5-item instrument with a visual analogue scale design, was used to measure sleep quality. Investigator-designed instruments were used to record demographic data and medications for anxiety, sleep and pain used during the study.
The first three hypotheses, there will be a significant difference in anxiety scores between treatments, in anxiety scores over time, and there will be a significant difference in treatment and time interaction effect on anxiety, were examined using a multivariate approach to analysis of variance for repeated measures. An analysis of covariance was not performed because there were no significant correlations between variables. The fourth hypothesis, there will be a significant difference in sleep scores between the two treatments (aromatherapy vs. control), was examined using a !-test for dependent samples. None of the hypotheses were supported.
Passively diffused aromatherapy using lavender on cotton ball did not significantly affect anxiety levels and sleep quality in CCU patients. These findings must be viewed with caution, because power analysis revealed low effect sizes and an inadequate sample size.