Blog 3

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.

Blog 2

            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.

Aromatherapy Research, Fall 2017

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.

Aromatherapy Research Blog #2

Over the course of summer, Dr. Greenberg and I have met over Skype on numerous occasions to ponder the best methodology for us to execute our research. Currently, our discussions have been centered around collecting prior research studies and established measurement criteria that relate to our goals. I am completing a systematic review of the literature per our goals. Next, I will organize a chart that will enable us to have all of the research information in one place and highlight the important details. In doing so, this will allow us to use the best evidenced based practice and thus produce the most reliable research plan to submit to the IRB.  Dr. Greenberg and I are also working on our own individual assignments, such as completing the IRB application and putting together the systematic review, respectively. Once the IRB is completed, Dr. Greenberg and I can move forward with obtaining consent from participants as well as beginning to conduct the physical research.

Here is a summary of topics discussed at some of our meetings:

Meeting 1: The objective of this meeting was to work on completing the undergraduate research application. Dr. Greenberg and I will expand on Dr. Greenberg’s prior research studies utilizing aromatherapy and lavender inhalation and bring it into a medical population, such as in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I previously worked as a direct support professional with this population for 3 years, so I was able to reach out to some of the organizations that I have still maintained contact with (located on Staten Island) to see if they would allow us permission conduct the research at their sites.

Meeting 2: At this meeting, Dr. Greenberg and I conferred with Ms. Sarah Burns to find previous studies and other scholarly literature to help us establish a pre-and-post measure. We are still debating if we want to narrow our research and test only on one specific disability instead of across the general gamut. However, we discovered that often times Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms overlap with anxiety so therefore, it may not be appropriate to use measures that have been designed and normed with the general population.

Meeting 3: Fortunately, after speaking to the organizations where Dr. Greenberg and myself will possibly be conducting our research, two organizations were very supportive and enthusiastic to help us. Dr. Greenberg and I then debated on whether we wanted to include participants with varying disabilities (i.e./ Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, etc.) or limit it to only one specific population. This would help us to decide on the appropriate facility. We also worked together to answer some of the questions posed by some of the facilities such as: “How much space and how long will we need to observe; What incentives will be provided; Can this study be open to the organization in its entirety; What exactly is needed from the participants? (I.e. Would they need to only smell the lavender oil or would an anxious/behavioral situation need to be provoked in order to see a response?).

Meeting 4: Dr. Greenberg and I have decided that we want a sample commonality and will limit our research to individuals on the autism spectrum. Furthermore, we will have two groups which will be delineated by the level of functioning (i.e. Group A will consist of higher functioning individuals whereas group B will consist of relatively lower functioning individuals). We have begun to look for appropriate measurement tools to use in individuals on the Autism spectrum, and I will also begin to work on the systematic review now that we have narrowed down our research population. Once I have determined the best constructs to use, I will start my literature search with a general population (such as intellectual disabilities) and then narrow down to a specific population (such as autism).

Meeting 5: The objective of this meeting was to figure out the best way to gain entre into the facilities. I have appointments for next week to visit the facilities and speak with key staff members about the best methods for us to conduct the study and obtain the data collection. Once the IRB is completed, we also decided that it may be best to observe the individuals prior to starting the study so that my presence does not act as a ‘trigger’ for them once the study begins. We also set a deadline to have the systematic review and IRB completed by the third week of August.

 

Aromatherapy Research

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 are whether the use of lavender inhalation will have a notable influence in exonerating stress and restless behavior within a sample of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 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. I will be responsible for 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. To date, Dr. Greenberg and I are currently analyzing scales-tools-measures and deciding 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. My next step insofar in agency outreach is to converse with key staff to ascertain the behavioral measures already in use in their facility that are used to measure anxiety, restlessness, and stress.

Once this step is accomplished, we will visit the agencies in order to plan the most appropriate study and data collection.