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DENISE WILL HELP PATIENTS STUB IT OUT

October 12, 2006 11:35 AM

A new Smoking Cessation Service for Mental Health In-Patients has been launched by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

It has been designed to target this group of patients who not only tend to be long-term smokers but also have smoking rates as high as 80 per cent.

They require personal programmes and support beyond the usual 12-week programme offered by smoking cessation groups.

But Denise Meldrum, Smoking Cessation Link Practitioner, Mental Health, who is delivering the service, will also support patients who are not ready to quit by opening a drop-in quit clinic.

The specialist service will be accessed through the Recreational Therapy Department at Leverndale Hospital where the clinic is being held on Mondays from 3-5 pm.

Another clinic opens on October 19 in the Patient Activity Room within the Mental Health Unit of the Southern General Hospital, and will run every Thursday between 4-5 pm.

And after this pilot year it is planned to roll out the service across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The service offers assessment, education and intensive one-to-one support to patients who may be very heavy smokers but are willing to make a quit attempt.

Behaviours around smoking, such as lighting up 20-30 times a day, are regarded as an emotional and psychological habit.

Smoking can also have an affect on their medication and dosages may have to be altered to accommodate this.

And while people with mental health problems believe that cigarettes are calming and can experience some anxiety attached to withdrawal, many still want to give up.

Denise, a trained nurse, said: "Consultants in general support the scheme, but we also need to spread the word to ward staff, patients and their families.

"We have now added a standard question as part of the admission protocol, asking patients how they think they will cope on a smoke-free ward."

This more intensive service is also more suitable for mental health patients who may feel inhibited about using services in the community.

"It takes a lot of confidence to walk into a room full of strangers and then discuss your personal concerns about smoking."

While community psychiatric nurses can also support patients who want to stub out smoking, and a letter is sent to their GP outlining a package of care, Denise is also available to give telephone support or point them in the direction of a local support group.

For more information contact Susan Carden, Communications Officer, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on 0141 201 4429.
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