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Keywords:

  • fall prevention;
  • lavender;
  • nursing home residents

Objectives

To investigate the effects of lavender olfactory stimulation intervention on fall incidence in elderly nursing home residents.

Design

Randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Setting

Three randomly selected nursing homes in northern Japan.

Participants

One hundred and forty-five nursing home residents aged 65 and older.

Intervention

Participants were randomly assigned to the lavender (n = 73) or placebo group (n = 72) for a 360-day study period. The lavender group received continuous olfactory stimulation from a lavender patch. The placebo group received an unscented patch.

Measurement

The primary outcome measure was resident falls. Other measurements taken at baseline and 12 months included functional ability (assessed using the Barthel Index), cognitive function (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)), and behavioral and psychological problems associated with dementia (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI)).

Results

There were fewer fallers in the lavender group (n = 26) than in the placebo group (n = 36) (hazard ratio (HR)=0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.34–0.95) and a lower incidence rate in the lavender group (1.04 per person-year) than in the placebo group (1.40 per person-year) (incidence rate ratio = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.30–0.88). The lavender group also had a significant decrease in CMAI score (P = .04) from baseline to follow-up in a per protocol analysis.

Conclusion

Lavender olfactory stimulation may reduce falls and agitation in elderly nursing home residents; further research is necessary to confirm these findings.