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Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

Director of clinical services James Lam and pharmacist Vivian Li

Fit to quit: Research at Providence helps patients with smoking cessation

Nov 27, 2018

by Ana Gajic

For a patient admitted to an in-patient unit at a rehabilitation hospital, that hospital becomes home for at least a couple of weeks, and sometimes months. A patient in this setting will often have the opportunity to focus on accomplishing key goals – both rehab-related and otherwise.

At Providence Healthcare, James Lam, director of Clinical Services, saw the opportunity to help patients tackle smoking cessation. He teamed up with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC) program to pilot a study at Providence and help patients who identified as smokers quit during their stay.

“The OMSC is the gold standard for smoking cessation in hospital settings,” Lam says. “We tailored the approach for our setting. It was most logical to have pharmacists lead the initiative as they take an active role in medication-related activities at Providence.”

Vivian Li, a pharmacist specialist who had been trained as a Certified Tobacco Educator, provided cessation intervention at the bedside for the one-year pilot study. She consulted with patients in-hospital and co-ordinated follow-up calls after discharge.

At three months after discharge, self-reported abstinence rates were significantly higher for those who had received the intervention than those who had not participated in the OMSC.

“Our original business case was to demonstrate that a pharmacist-led intervention in a rehab setting could work, and our research proved that it did,” Lam says.

Now, the intervention is available to all patients who enter Providence’s doors and identify as smokers. Li continues to support and follow-up with patients, contributing information to the OMSC’s larger database that will inform future studies and practices across Canada.

“We are one of the largest rehab hospitals in the province, which means we have a lot of data,” Li says. “This will give the OMSC more data to inform them of current trends. We are contributing to a collective dataset that will benefit patients in our hospital and beyond.”