Can aromatherapy in a hospital ease patient anxiety?

by Brianna Crandall — April 14, 2017 — Two medical facilities in South Florida, the Lennar Foundation Medical Center and North Shore Medical Center, instituted innovative environmental scenting programs this month. Both healthcare facilities chose Air Esscentials, a global scent system company, to design, implement and maintain their aromatherapy programs.

Influenced by information about how environmental scenting has been scientifically proven to ease patient anxiety, reduce patients’ reported pain and discomfort, and boost staff morale, leaders at both organizations were reportedly eager to institute a scenting program and provide these benefits to their own patients and staff.

According to Air Esscentials, there are numerous scientific studies examining the effect of a pleasant scent in medical environments. One such study used a vanilla scent while patients were undergoing an MRI scan for cancer. Patients experienced 63% less anxiety during the MRI when the scent was used compared to no scent. Another study found that pediatric patients in a hospital reported 58% less pain when there was a stimulating ambient scent. Other studies conclusively show that a pleasant smell increases the perceived levels of both health and mood.

A number of leading medical facilities have instituted ambient scenting programs, points out Air Esscentials. Florida Hospital in Celebration, Florida, for example, added scenting to its MRI department, reducing cancellations by a full 50%. Vanderbilt University Medical Center uses scent in its emergency room, primarily to boost staff energy, improve the working environment, and eliminate malodors.

The Lennar Foundation Medical Center and the North Shore Medical Center will be the first medical facilities in South Florida to use ambient scent to improve patient outcomes and employee experience.

At the Lennar Foundation Medical Center, numerous parts of the medical facility are scented, including the main lobby, back lobby, imaging waiting area, centralized waiting area, ER waiting room, administrative offices and executive medicine, the women’s studies waiting area and the sports medicine area. North Shore Medical Center is scenting its main lobby area.

Gissette Onorato, executive director for the Human Experience, explained:

At The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, we wanted to create a healthcare facility unlike any other. We were already creating a location with world-renowned physicians and state of the art technology. However, we still had one important piece to the puzzle missing: how do we stimulate the senses of both our caregivers and our guests? Natural light, calming cool colors and refreshment options were already in place. The next logical step was incorporating a sense of calming smell.

By now we know we have not only achieved our goal but certainly have surpassed the expectations of our guests. They are always astonished at what we have created here the second they step foot in our facility. A big part of that is due to the service Air Esscentials has provided for us. We have been able to offer a spa like ambiance reducing stress and anxiety otherwise experienced at other medical facilities. Patients and their families not only like it, they’ve also asked for details on how they can achieve the same in their own personal homes!

Spence Levy, president of Air Esscentials, stated:

We’ve known for a while that having a pleasant scent in a medical facility results in more positive, healthy outcomes for patients and employees alike. Now forward-thinking innovators like the Lennar Foundation Medical Center and the North Shore Medical Center are providing these benefits to patients, taking a giant step forward in the level of healthcare provided here in South Florida.

For more information, visit the Air Esscentials Web site.