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LuAnn Reif


Managing pain effectively is a widespread issue in healthcare, particularly in the elderly population. Good Shepherd Lutheran Community in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota reports high levels of chronic pain in their long-term care patients when compared to the nationwide average. This could be due to an inaccurate pain scale, inappropriate medication management, or the lack of non-pharmacological intervention. Students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University investigated this issue. Current nonpharmacological strategies in the facility include heat or cold application, mindfulness, and range of motion exercises. Pain medication, particularly opioids are used to maximize comfort. A review of the literature suggests that the daily application of lavender oil to the inner wrists of residents has been effective in providing pain relief and distraction along with relaxation. Given time constraints, the plan included application for ten consecutive days by the unit’s nurse manager. The sample for this quality improvement study includes those residents that exemplified extreme pain on the MDS, a comprehensive assessment completed to determine eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Of those ten residents triggering for pain in November of 2019, five were removed due to death since assessment or a diagnosis of dementia, making them unable to provide informed consent. The implementation plan included assessing these residents' pain using a number-based scale prior to the first application, and again after the last. Implementation was halted due to the restriction of student’s in the facility as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Anticipated results were a reduction in pain following the application of lavender; thus improved pain scores for the organization.