This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Quitting tobacco can be hard, and even though more than 70 percent of smokers want to quit, many people try multiple times before finally kicking the habit. Sometimes, support and a little encouragement can go a long way toward helping tobacco users quit. One of the best ways to receive that support is from your healthcare provider. In fact, studies show tobacco users have a 30 percent increase of quitting when a healthcare provider educates and refers them to cessation services.
This is why Carson City Health and Human Services has partnered with Carson Tahoe Health for the last two years to provide tools and evidence-based discharge instructions to patients to help them quit tobacco.
Each time patients are discharged from the hospital, their doctor sends them home with discharge instructions — sort of a note that tells patients what they should do to recover. Since quitting smoking is one of the best things smokers can do to improve their health, including it on a discharge note along with concrete steps patients can take to quit is a great way to get the message out to patients.
Together, Carson City Health and Human Services and Carson Tahoe Health reviewed the electronic discharge instructions about smoking and found they were not all evidence-based and didn’t follow the current guidelines for smoking cessation, especially regarding referral to local counseling services.
David Tillitt, MD; Carmella Downing, PA; and Terry Dezort, RN, MA from Carson Tahoe Health set out to develop new, evidence-based smoking cessation discharge instructions. They collaborated with Carson City Health and Human Services’ Tobacco program to write new, customized instructions to help patients quit. This partnership allowed for the most up-to date, evidence-based guidelines, education, and referrals to be included in the instructions.
The improved discharge instructions ultimately benefit the patients being discharged from all Carson Tahoe Health locations. The healthcare providers are now able to select one appropriate, complete smoking cessation instruction sheet to assure they’re providing the most current and accurate recommendations for patients and families. Since the new discharge instructions were developed, more than 700 patients have received smoking cessation instructions when they left the hospital.
Through this partnership with Carson Tahoe Health, Carson City Health and Human Services is demonstrating how agencies can work together to improve health in our community. Carson City is the first community in Nevada to create evidence-based discharge instructions as collaboration between a Healthcare system and Public Health.
As the Great American Smokeout approaches on Nov. 17, Carson City Health and Human Services asks everyone to quit for at least one day, and to hopefully consider this to be your forever quit date. If you need support to quit smoking, contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-784-8669.
For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.