While the number of people who smoke in the UK is on the decline, according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2022, 13.3% or around 6.4 million people over the age of 18 smoked cigarettes.
The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA) has a dedicated smoking cessation team who operate the CURE service at each of its sites and work with patients admitted to hospital who smoke.
Smoking is not permitted in or around the hospital, so for most patients who are used to smoking or throughout their day, to no longer have access to their tobacco when admitted to hospital can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
For many, withdrawal from cigarettes isn’t a pleasant experience and can cause several symptoms including, feeling agitated or restless, an increase in cravings, difficulty sleeping and increased anxiety. This can negatively affect a patient’s treatment and recovery.
The smoking cessation team is available to support patients who are struggling with symptoms of withdrawal by developing a plan using quit aids like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in addition to providing guidance after the patient is sent home by referring them to community support. Patients are automatically referred to the service when they are admitted to hospital through their lifestyle document which is filled out by the team delivering their care.
The team can provide full smoking cessation support as well as behavioural therapy which can help patients who want to quit smoking for good.
They follow the CURE programme model which includes:
- Conversation – meeting with the patient to understand their needs and concerns.
- Understand – working with the patient, to get a better understanding of their level of addiction.
- Replace – using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), i.e., nicotine patches to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
- Expert and Evidence Based Treatments – The team is made up of nurses and smoking advisors who can recommend and provide expert advice and the best evidence-based treatments for the patient.
Caroll Riley, lead nurse for the Salford Royal smoking cessation team said,
“It is so important that we support our patients who smoke to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms so they can focus on getting better.”
We encourage all our patient facing colleagues to fill in their patient’s lifestyle document as it can mean a huge difference to the experience of our patients. With that referral, we are able help to provide smoking cessation support, making their treatment and care easier and more effective.
For any patients that are concerned about their addiction to tobacco and being admitted to hospital, please speak to your care team, and ask them to get in touch with us.”
In addition to supporting our patients, the smoking cessation team also help colleagues who want to quit, cut back or be entirely smokefree.