Microsoft word - prh smoking cessation program success.doc

PRH Seeing Lower Prevalence Of Patients Who Smoke,
And Offering Good Support To Those Who Do

September 25, 2013
PEMBROKE – Three years after becoming a smoke-free property and putting in place a
strong support system to help smokers with their nicotine withdrawal symptoms during their
hospital admission, the Pembroke Regional Hospital is seeing good results and a much
lower prevalence of admitted patients who smoke.
One of the most important components of implementing a smoke-free environment is being
able to offer support through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and counselling.
Smoking is an addiction to nicotine, and cravings are often triggered by stressful events –
events that are often experienced in healthcare settings.
“When patients are admitted, those who have a history of smoking within the past 6 months
are counselled and offered support,” said Respiratory Therapy (RT) Team Leader Martin
During counselling, patients are asked about their smoking history, the quantity of cigarettes
they smoke, their readiness to quit, their confidence in remaining smoke-free, and where
they are at in terms of wanting to quit.
With a doctor’s order, available supports are offered free of charge while in hospital
including the patch, an inhaler, nicotine gum, or medication (Champix or Zyban).
Upon discharge from hospital, a fantastic, free followup service is offered to patients in the
form of an integrated voice recognition system coordinated through the University of Ottawa
Heart Institute.
Since 2006 when Pembroke Regional Hospital first closed its two interior patient smoke
rooms, and prohibited smoking within 9 metres (30 feet) of any entrance or exit in
compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, a total of 3,900 patients, or an average of 90 to
100 per month, have been counselled.
And since that time, the rate of admitted patients who smoke has been on the decline.
Annual stats provided by the Ottawa Heart Institute show that PRH has counselled 91% of
admitted patients who smoke.
“The general consensus is that the prevalence of smokers has dramatically improved. The
statistics show that the number of those who smoke has decreased and patients are more
willing to accept nicotine replacement while they’re in the hospital,” Mr. Burger said.

In 2007, 29% of all patients admitted were smoking. In 2013 the number has decreased to
23%. Last year alone, 244 patients at PRH who received smoking cessation consultations
quit smoking and were still smoke-free six months after their hospital stay.
One of the things that makes the PRH program unique is that it is one of the only hospital
smoking cessation programs lead by the Respiratory Therapy department in terms of
counselling in all clinical areas except for Acute Mental Health where the nursing staff
provide the service.
“All of our RT staff are trained through the Ottawa Heart Institute’s Smoking Cessation
Model and we are a smaller group which has helped with the success of the program,” Mr.
Burger said, adding that another reason the inpatient program is successful is due to the
approach the staff take with patients. “The key message is we are here to support the
patients, to help with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms during their hospital stay – we
are not here to force them to quit.”
Going forward, Mr. Burger said the plan is to continue on the path they have been taking
with the hope of reducing the prevalence rate even further.
“We work closely with the Ottawa Heart Institute who keep us informed of new strategies,
products etc. and we have educational opportunities to attend things like annual smoking
cessation workshops. Twice a year the smoking cessation coordinator also comes here to
conduct workshops with the nursing units for staff awareness about the program itself and
what is available – that’s important in helping to get the information out to patients, their
families and our visitors,” Mr. Burger said.
As part of the Pembroke Regional Hospital’s smoke-free property policy, smoking is
prohibited on Hospital grounds and the parking lots.
Carolyn Levesque, Public Affairs and Communications Coordinator
(613) 732-3675, ext. 6165 /


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