University of Alberta program provides nicotine for trauma and surgery patients

A University of Alberta program is aiming to provide relief for smokers who are under-going surgery at the university’s hospital.

“While elective surgery patients who smoke are offered nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) in their pre-op appointments, we saw a gap where trauma or emergency surgery patients were missing out on nicotine addiction management,” U of A anesthesiologist Barry Finegan said.

“This intervention does not support smoking, rather it endeavours to support people who have addictions by not allowing them to go into withdrawal.”

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The approach was developed and tested at the University of Alberta Hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit, where smokers were identified, offered patches and mouth sprays and were provided therapy before they were transferred to the patient ward.

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Researchers said there was an increase in screening for tobacco use to 95 per cent from 54 per cent, and an increase in the use of patch and mouth spray to 89 per cent from 50 per cent, in patients who were transferring to the ward.