Rx for Smokers
Patients hospitalized for tobacco-related illnesses may be the most motivated to quit using tobacco. That's the presupposition behind a tobacco cessation program, Hospitals Helping Patients Quit, recently developed by the Oklahoma Hospital Association and now used by nearly 30 Oklahoma hospitals. These hospitals screen patients initially to evaluate their tobacco use, and respiratory therapists assess a patient's readiness to quit and try the cessation program. The program has two main parts: prescribing physician-approved medications, including gum and patches, to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms and referring patients for free counseling. With funding from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, OHA provides on-site education, consultation and technical assistance "to embed a sustainable system and process that includes the medications and Tobacco Helpline counseling referrals," says Joy L. Leuthard, OHA tobacco cessation coordinator. Large and small hospitals have had solid results. In 20 months, 10 hospitals part of INTEGRIS Health, based in Oklahoma City, have referred 3,454 patients and 54 employees to the Helpline, with a 39 percent acceptance rate. Choctaw Memorial Hospital, a 34-bed hospital in Hugo, has referred 191 patients, with a remarkable 48 percent acceptance rate. For more information, contact Leuthard at email@example.com.
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