Essential Oil Overkill

  1. Our facility is using essential oils like they are the second coming of Jesus. We have no policy and procedure, no regulations, no MSDS, nothing. Some shifts soak the resident's skin, no carrier oils, soak their bedding, clothing and other personal items.
    We've got nurses bringing their own supply of essential oils FROM HOME and putting them on the patients!! No where in nursing would that ever be allowed.

    It's making the nursing staff sick. According to the FDA, once you put these essential oils on the skin of the patient, it's considered a drug.

    What is the answer here? The popularity of essential oils and the unbelievable backlash if you question if they work or not is getting old for me very quickly.

    (Just FYI essential oils are completely unregulated and they are a 4 BILLION dollar industry).

    Does your facility use essential oils? What's the policy on this?

    For What it's Worth: You cannot find ANY essential oils listed in the drug handbook. Think about that.
  2. 51 Comments

  3. by   ruby_jane
    Wow!! So....are these doctor-ordered, nurse-applied oils? Because my BON frowns on my administering anything that's not FDA-approved, even with a doctor's orders (and so I say when I decline to apply an oil to a kid at school). Nurses are bringing them from home, you say? Oy.

    I also wonder how many people with allergies like mine are being affected. Lemon, peppermint and lavender are fine for me....but if it's in a super-high concentration I get a migraine and I start to wheeze like Thomas the Tank Engine.
  4. by   BeckyESRN
    Hop on over to school nurses board and see how we feel about them
    The backlash over questioning effectiveness is ridiculous! The parents that I've spoken to about it get immediately defensive. We had a student who smelled like he bathed in oils daily, his strong scent was triggering migraines for one of his teachers and effecting another student's asthma. When the teacher sent him to my office, I started wheezing and had to use my rescue inhaler. Mom was mad at me when I called her! She insisted that we were exaggerating and that his oils "cure asthma"
  5. by   CelticGoddess
    I have asthma and there are only 2 scents that don't trigger my asthma: lavender if very diluted and rosemary. All the rest make my airways twitchy (sadly, even peppermint oil, which is great for masking c-diff smell). Honestly, they are just asking for trouble.

    I have had so many people offer me their special blend of oils to help with my asthma, and a few have gotten downright defensive when I have explained that most really bother me. It's amazing that people get so cranky when you say no.
  6. by   ruby_jane
    [QUOTE=Kayauhs;9733488]We've got nurses bringing their own supply of essential oils FROM HOME and putting them on the patients!! No where in nursing would that ever be allowed. [QUOTE]

    I just can't get past this one. HOW is that remotely ok? I can't imagine lying in a bed and having someone bring out a jar of home brewed oil...or even a Young Living bottle. None of those nurses is worried about their licenses?
  7. by   OldDude
    In the school our district...we (nurses or school staff) don't administer or apply any substance that isn't approved by the FDA for that particular application...MD order or not. So, no we won't rub essential oils on a students temples or feet to treat ADD, etc.
  8. by   klone
    Our facility is scent-free. Essential oils are strictly banned, even in L&D (where many patients/doulas love to use lavender)
  9. by   brownbook
    Headline from an article in my local newspaper: Fragrances found equally to blame for smog as cars.

    "The study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration and University of Davis establishes a stronger link than ever before between air pollution and the lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, and other grooming and cleaning products." "To a large extent anything scented is going to contribute", said Christopher Capra a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis and co-author of the study."

    But that's okay, essential oils are natural, organic, gluten free, no GMO's, and range free, so they must be good for you, right?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, the big bad pharmaceutical/medical/scientific complex paid for this study so the public will buy their expensive bogus medications.
    Last edit by brownbook on Feb 16
  10. by   HeySis
    We use Mandarin orange in our surgical area... we do not apply to patients skin.

    We use it for nausea, the same way we've always used alcohol prep pads, by having the patient smell them... hoping the change in smell will trick the brain into decreasing nausea.

    We place a drop of oil on a cotton ball, the cotton ball into a plastic med cup and place the med cup on the patients chest IF the patient states it's ok.

    We have a field in our charting, under comfort measures, that says essential oils. When you choose yes, there is a drop down that I think gives about 3-4 choices. But we don't have the others, I can't even remember the other choices... maybe other areas of the hospital use them.
  11. by   sallyrnrrt
    Grasss hoper , you have muck you
    U , have
    Much to learn
  12. by   meanmaryjean
    Our PICU used them for a while. But I am honestly not convinced that an intubated, sedated toddler gets much out of lavender scented air.

  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I have a friend who sells essential oils and is fanatic about their supposed benefits. I happen to be wildly allergic to lavender and I have to stay away from her house because she's got it everywhere. I can't imagine it being OK to put essential oils on a patient's skin without a doctor's order and patient/family's permission---what if they're allergic? And how do you find out they're allergic in the first place, except by exposing them to it? That's not right. I would have a real issue if I had a family member in a facility and a nurse put oils on him or her without my knowledge or permission.
  14. by   Beth1978
    Viva, I am horribly allergic to lavender too. Nurses technically aren't even supposed to wear perfume, who thought up this policy to put it all over patients? Essential oils placed on skin without a carrier oil can cause skin irritation. OP, can you bring up that fact with management? I doubt a facility-aquired wound as a result of an unordered oil applied to skin would look good to your state surveyors.