Smoking rates are higher among people with mental health conditions. Smoking also reduces physical, mental and financial wellbeing, as well as interacting with many commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs.
Clinicians at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust saw an inpatient admission as an opportunity to engage and support smokers in giving up.
Dr Kathy Liu and Dr Andrew Creamer led a team, including ward nurses and managers, the IT department and addiction specialists within the inpatient areas of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
A new electronic health form was introduced, with a clear pathway for onward referrals for stopping smoking and nicotine therapy.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) smoking cessation guidelines were assessed in the two inpatient areas. Electronic patient records were used to collect data on compliance with documentation of smoking status, desire to stop and intervention. A patient questionnaire assessed smoking history, motivation to stop, and treatment preferences. PDSA cycles were used to identify and test possible improvements.
This intervention facilitated the introduction of the Trust-wide smoke free policy from October 2014. Documenting the smoking status of individuals in hospital doubled. Smoking cessation advice and offers of Nicotine Replacement Therapy increased.