At this point in our research study, Dr. Greenberg and I are waiting for our participants to complete the study. We have obtained consent and administered our pre-intervention surveys. After they completed the pre-intervention testing, the participants were given an inhaler containing lavender essential oil to use through-out the week for four weeks. Currently, all of the participants are in their fourth week of the intervention. Once everyone completes their four weeks of aromatherapy intervention, the participants will then go back and complete the same pre-intervention testing. After this has been completed, I will analyze the data to see if there are any deviations from the answers given pre-intervention.
One of the most difficult challenges that I came across was getting participants to sign up. Dr. Greenberg and I utilized various means of recruitment, such as social media, email, flyers, and agency website announcements. Often times, individuals would reach out to us and express interest in the study, but then we would never hear back from them.
One major milestone that was made by Dr. Greenberg and myself thus far in our research study involves obtaining PACE IRB approval for phase one of our study, which is in regard to caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our next step is trying to recruit staff from various agencies to participate in our study. Our main methods of staff outreach include posting flyers through-out the agency as well as on the agency intranet or website, and a master email with the attach flyer to the staff. So far, we have garnered interest from participants from two separate facilities. Our ideal sample size would be around 60 individuals, so I am excited and hopeful that we will our goal.
Currently, Dr. Greenberg and I are still revising the second part of the IRB to receive full approval and be able continue with phase two of our study. The population of phase two of our study focuses solely on the consumers. Some of the more challenging modifications that we are working to address include determining how competency can be proven to obtain consent by consumers, and what the decision-making process will be to determine for someone to be eligible to give consent.
Our research poster was accepted for presentation at the Eastern Nursing Research Conference (ENRS), so I will be presenting our research in April 2018. The deadline to submit our poster to ENRS is February 21st, which means that our data analysis must be completed by early February. Ultimately, this gives us about 6 weeks to get everything together. I am eager to see what results our study yields, as I can personally attest to the stress relieving effect that lavender essential oil has.
There is much empirical evidence that exists to support the use of aromatherapy as an accompanying treatment for therapeutic outcomes. In our research study, “Mitigating stress with aromatherapy in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Dr. Greenberg and I will be researching the effects of the use of lavender inhalation amongst individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as amongst their caregivers. We will be measuring specifically whether lavender inhalation will have a significant influence in exonerating stress and restless behavior within these two samples. Our study will be carried out in two phases: Phase I will focus solely on the support staff, and Phase II will focus on the individuals with intellectual disabilities. It was necessary to split our study into two separate groups as one group deals with a vulnerable population and the other does not.
Anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are often concomitant with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The main goals of the study include:
- To provide this population with a non-pharmacological measure to help meliorate anxiety and stress
- To provide various disciplines caring for this population with a proactive-instead of reactive-intervention to de-escalate restlessness before a behavioral mediation is necessary
Nursing research and Evidence-based practice (EBP) allows nurses to use scientifically gained evidence for delivering quality health care to a specific population. This research project will help me practice research skills in preparation for advanced practice nursing. My responsibilities thus far have entailed conducting the literature review for best evidence on lavender and stress reduction with individuals (adults) with intellectual disability and writing a systematic review, finding the appropriate measurement scales on stress for the sample, reviewing the IRB application, preparing the study materials, and collecting and analyzing data. Dr. Greenberg and I have analyzed numerous scales-tools-measures and decided on their appropriateness for our sample. When conducting the study, we may use both quantitative and qualitative measures.
Since I have both experience as an RN in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and contacts in several agencies, I have also explored the feasibility of conducting the study in three agencies, all serving the population of interest. In terms of agency outreach, I have been conversing with key staff to ascertain the behavioral measures already in use that are used to measure anxiety, restlessness, and stress. After exploring one of the facilities and meeting with the Principle and guidance counselor of the school, Dr. Greenberg and I had initially determined that we wanted to conduct our study there. However, due to the hurdles we would have to jump and the length of time it would take to get the IRB approved by the NYCDOE, we quickly realized that this was not a feasible option and instead will be conducting our study in a local group home. Ideally, this study will further enhance our understanding of holistic therapies and their role in managing stress and anxiety.