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As a charity that works to improve health in people’s homes and in the community, The Queen’s Nursing Institute has a major role to play in the fight against smoking-related illnesses.
One way that the QNI helps people to quit is through funding nurse-led projects in the community.
One such project has been operating in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, which has higher than average smoking levels, and the highest infant mortality rates in Yorkshire. As children breathe faster and deeper than adults, they are more at risk of the effects of second hand smoke in the home. In the Kirklees case, the children affected included some suffering from asthma, and some that were on long-term oxygen therapy. Unsurprisingly, this led to asthma attacks and emergency visits to hospital.
The Kirklees Stop Smoking Service found that many parents, who are smokers, wanted to quit but were not making time to visit clinics for appointments. With the QNI’s support, a children’s respiratory nurse was able to make repeat visits to meet families at home, to give them personal support to quit smoking. This ‘Smoke Free Homes’ project was a major step towards encouraging parents to give up smoking, but first and foremost to stop them from smoking in confined spaces where their children were also present.
The two leaders of the projects were Marilyn Krauz, a Paediatric Respiratory Sister, and Rebecca Elliott, a stop smoking specialist. Marilyn commented, ‘Caring for these children can be demanding and their parents are not able to access smoking cessation classes for a variety of reasons – no transport, chaotic lifestyles, numerous hospital appointments. If we can help reduce the negative health effects for children, or prevent them from starting smoking when they get older, we have made an impact.’
As a result, in the first year of the project (2009-2010), twenty-five children had reduced exposure to second hand smoke. Six out of 13 families became totally ‘smoke free’ within the home. This led to a 100% reduction in Accident and Emergency attendances by the families concerned.
If you are a community nurse and you have an idea for a practical project that could help people to quit smoking, we might be able to help. Please click here for more information.