New aromatherapy program initiated to help patients heal
FORT WORTH, Texas – December 13, 2017 — Patients in the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Texas Health Fort Worth are not losing much sleep over their recovery — thanks to Brenda McDonnell, B.S.N., R.N., CCAP, PCCN-K.
McDonnell, who has been a nurse at Texas Health Fort Worth for 10 years, recently established an aromatherapy program on the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit to help patients heal with essential oils.
“I am passionate about the use of aromatherapy in the hospital setting,” McDonnell said. “When administered safely and used as a complementary medicine, patients can have great benefits.”
Texas Health’s policy requires a certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner (CCAP) to oversee an aromatherapy program on a hospital unit, McDonnell explained.
“When I began working in Cardiac Rehab, there was not a CCAP, so I decided to pursue this certification,” she said.
McDonnell conducted an eight-month-long research study, with the support of Texas Health nurse scientist Patty Newcomb, Ph.D., R.N., on the “Effects of Essential Oils on Sleep Among Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients.”
The study aimed to determine if there was a significant difference in the sleep quality of cardiac rehabilitation patients exposed to the aroma of an essential oil mixture compared to those not exposed. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality is linked to cardiovascular morbidity in epidemiological studies, according to McDonnell’s research abstract.
Her study found that the number of hours people slept didn’t change, but that they had better quality sleep when using the oils.
McDonnell continues to track pre- and post-intervention results, which remain positive. She uses aromatherapy for her patients in the traditional Cardiac Rehab program on an as needed basis, especially when a patient indicates sleep disturbances upon initial assessment or at any point during the three-phase Cardiac Rehab program.
“We’ve also used aromatherapy to help assist patients with smoking cessation and relieve stress,” she said. “Aromatherapy is also frequently used during weekly yoga classes that are offered to our patients.”
At this time, patients are not charged for the aromatherapy services.
“I love seeing my patients get well, enjoying exercise and making healthy lifestyle changes they can live with,” Brenda said.
About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system, which along with UT Southwestern founded Southwestern Health Resources in 2016 to make it easier for North Texans to access the highest quality care consistently in a responsive and coordinated manner, includes 29 hospital locations that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley Hospitals, Texas Health Physicians Group, outpatient facilities, behavioral health and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.
SOURCE: Texas Health