A Dream Come True
The road to Boston, Massachusetts is a long one, longer than some might think. To be exact, it has taken ten years, thousands of dollars, courage, dedication and a whole lot of determination. You see, in this tale, Boston not only represents a city, but the realization of a dream. What is the dream you ask? The dream is one where those living with memory loss are given the choice and the chance to live their life free of “behavioral” controlling medications.
It would seem that for many years, care environments and those in charge of the medical care for people living in the throws of memory loss, used psychotropic medications as a means of control for “behavioral” challenges. These “behavioral” challenges can arise when dealing with a brain that is having a difficult time deciphering the world around them, be their sphere of existence large or small. For Jayne Clairmont, owner of English Rose Suites, this has never been the case, because she sees the person and not the disease. She is adamant that there needs to be another way to help those living with memory loss continue to have a voice and not be forced into a medical profile of psychotropic medications, purely because of communication barriers.
This is where the worlds of holistic care using essential oils and memory care environments meet. Jayne was given a great deal of insight and guidance into the purpose and use of the Essential Oils by Traci Lebens. Traci extensive knowledge and thoughtfulness in choosing the oils that were to be used in the English Rose Suites’ care environments. Jayne introduced the oils with Traci’s help and the staff used them, but Jayne new they could be doing more. Then, in 2003, soon after the self proclaimed “Hippie” Katie Rinehimer joined the English Rose Suites team, Jayne handed the reigns of the Essential Oil Program over to her. From there, with the help of nursing staff, the administrators, CNA’s and HHA’s, today the Essential Oil Program at English Rose Suites is the best in the country.
Still feeling that there was more that needed to be done to prove what we at English Rose Suites knew – that the oils really worked – Jayne made a call to Health Partners Center for Memory and Aging. She shared with a colleague at Health Partners her passion and desire to scientifically prove what we already knew. This is where the “Lavender Essential Oil to Improve Sleep in Memory Care” study came to life. From start to finish, the study took just over a year. The team at Health Partners and English Rose Suites had to formulate a plan, find an environment that would allow us to come in and ask for the residents’ and families’ participation, train the staff how to apply to the oils, train the nurses how to do a Neuropsychiatric Inventory to track any changes that they might see in the residents who were participating, collect the data and then wait for the results.
Waiting for the results was the most trying time during this research process, and the wait of a decade paid off when the results came in. The results of the study proved that with the use of Lavender oil at night before bed the participants received 42.5 minutes of extra sleep. This result is amazing! On July 16th, 2013 at the Alzheimer’s Associations International Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts, Jayne Clairmont, Dr. Leah Hanson and Katie Rinehimer proudly stood in front of the “Lavender Essential Oil improved Sleep in Residents of Memory Care” study abstract poster to present our findings to an international audience and smiled. A dream realized.