THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – September 30, 2013 marked an important milestone for the entire community of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), including patients and families across Northwestern Ontario.
“Today TBRHSC joins an ever-growing number of hospitals that recognize the positive role that providing a smoke-free environment can play in their communities and that implementing smoke-free grounds is an important part in promoting healthy choices and health in the community,” said Andrée Robichaud, TBRHSC President and CEO.
Although TBRHSC has had a smoke-free grounds policy in place since opening its doors in 2004, the policy was not consistently respected or enforced.
The new approach of TBRHSC’s smoke-free grounds policy is based on up-to-date research and includes valuable lessons learned over the past nine years from patients, families, staff and the public and from various other hospitals and institutions that also adopted progressive policies.
Throughout the process of developing this initiative, TBRHSC engaged both smoking and non-smoking community members, staff, community partners, researchers, and other hospitals with smoke-free grounds policies. This engagement process was done to ensure that the Health Sciences Centre moves forward with the most supportive and comprehensive approach.
Smoking is an addiction to nicotine – one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Therefore, quitting isn’t just a matter of throwing away your pack of cigarettes; rather it needs to be treated like quitting any other addictive substance – this requires a supportive approach. This is what TBRHSC is aiming to do with specific strategies for patients, visitors and staff.
The new approach includes a supportive environment that treats tobacco use as an addiction.
Some of the supports in place include Care Kits which are free resources on quitting smoking that are available for anybody looking for more support at the Information Desk. There is also support for patients at bedside to reduce or quit smoking, with follow-up when they are discharged.
“When it comes to tobacco control strategies, we think of ‘progress, not perfection’. If we can help people to be healthier, prevent hospitalizations, or decrease hospital stays by being smoke-free then we should do it,” said Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager of Preventive Health Services.
Also in 2013:
• The new state-of-the-art Screen for Life coach was introduced, and offers breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screening throughout the region;
• The first ever Internal French Language Working Group was formed to improve services to francophone patients and their families.
• TBRHSC’s Regional Cancer Care Northwest implemented the MOSAIQ oncology information system to ensure coordination of patient information.
To see a complete timeline of milestones from the past ten years, visit www.tbrhsc.net/10years.