The Power of Scent & Essential Oils for End-of-Life Care

The Power of Scent & Essential Oils for End-of-Life Care

Scent has the ability to elicit such a strong response that it can invoke memories and improve mood. While hotels and spas are embracing the use of scent as part of their service, hospitals and palliative care providers are beginning to realise the wonders of essential oils for end of life care.  The use of essential oils and fragrance combined with traditional care methods gives caregivers and family members the ability to create an environment that promotes calmness, wellbeing, and comfort. This blog post reviews the advantages of using essential oils for end of life care and ways you can incorporate them into home, hospice or hospital settings.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are aromatic oils derived from plants. The majority of essential oils used in healthcare come from the flowers, leaves, and bark of plants while a few others come from seeds, roots, and resins. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. While there are a variety of essential oils, they all contain the same chemical compounds: terpenes, phenols, alcohols, esters, and hydrocarbons. Because essential oils are derived from plants, you will find a vast array of scents and uses.

Essential oil and memory

The sense of smell is our most powerful memory trigger. A whopping 95% of all sensory input ends up in the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that processes our emotions. The scent of a rose, the smell of coffee being brewed, or even tha aroma you get from the concrete after springtime rain can bring up strong associations. Many of us associate the smell of certain foods or scents with family gatherings, holidays, or our childhood. You may even associate the smell of your favourite perfume with a former love. Some experts believe the reason behind these powerful effects is that our limbic system is one of the oldest parts of the brain, which means it evolved long before we started using language. As a result, scent is processed much more quickly and on a much more subconscious level than other forms of communication.

dedanu essential oils for palliative care

How do essential oils support the environment for palliative patients?

The home environment can be a source of comfort and security for patients, especially those experiencing end-of-life care. Scent has a strong influence on behavior, mood, and physiological reactions. Essential Oils can be used to promote a more calming and restful environment. These essential oils, when diffused can be used to promote a more calming and restful environment. Caregivers can support the environment so that it is conducive for reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of wellbeing. Essential Oils can be diffused through a diffuser or applied topically (in a carrier or roller) to create an environment conducive for promoting the best atmosphere possible for the patient and family members. 

Benefits of essential oils in the hospice setting

Soothing scents: Soothing scents can help to calm a hospice patient and reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. Some scents that are known to have a calming effect include lavender, clary sage, lemongrass, lemon, and sandalwood.

Supporting patient and caregiver mood: Mood is a major issue in end-of-life care. The use of scents can help to promote positive mood. Some scents that promote positive mood include citrus, clary sage, peppermint, lemon, and sweet orange.

Providing environmental enrichment: Environmental enrichment is critical for those receiving end-of-life care. It can provide a meaningful experience and improve quality of life for the patient.

dedanu essential oils for palliative care

Benefits of essential oils in the home setting

Providing a sense of security: The use of Essential Oils can provide a sense of security for patients, especially those receiving home care. Additionally, the use of Essential Oils can be used to promote feelings of security and reduce anxiety among patients.

Controlling infection: The risk of infection is a major issue in end-of-life care. Studies show that essential oils are used as a way to reduce airborne microbes. deDANÚ Shield Blend is formulated to do just this, fight airborne microbes. When diffused, deDANÚ SHIELD Essential Oil Blend helps purify and cleanse the air. This ancient recipe is also renowned for energizing and uplifting the senses while providing herbal immune support. Shield can also be used on surfaces throughout the home as a non-toxic cleaner. 

Creating a relaxing environment: A relaxation-focused environment can be critical for those receiving home care. Using Essential oils such as deDANU Calm Wellness Blend creates a relaxing environment.


The use of scent is a powerful tool that can be implemented during the end-of-life care process. The choice of scent can be tailored to promote healing, provide environmental enrichment, and create a relaxing atmosphere. The use of Essential oils is a cost-effective way of delivering scent and can be used in a variety of ways, including diffusing through a diffuser, applying topically, or lighting a clean, soy, essential oil candle.

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