SIMCOE, MAY 31, 2013 – Visitors to Haldimand War Memorial Hospital will soon be able to breathe a little more freely.
On May 31, the Dunnville hospital, along with Edgewater Gardens long-term care home, will join the growing list of hospitals across the province implementing smoke-free grounds policies.
In a move to promote smoke-free environments and healthier lifestyles, outpatients, visitors and staff will no longer be able to smoke on hospital property. Signs will be installed near entrances and elsewhere on the property to remind visitors of the new policy.
Inpatients will still be permitted to smoke on the premises for the time being, so long as they obey the signs in the courtyard and stay at least nine metres away from the building. However, at the end of September, the property will be completely tobacco-free.
Hospital leaders say the new policy reflects the health system’s mission.
“We are eliminating tobacco use on our properties to provide a healthy and safe environment for employees, patients, residents, and visitors, and to promote positive health behaviours,” said David Montgomery, President and CEO at Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and Edgewater Gardens.
Under the new policy, use of tobacco by staff, patients, and visitors will be prohibited at all times on any property owned or leased by the hospital, including parking lots and inside vehicles parked on the premises.
The ban extends beyond cigarettes as well, and includes all forms of tobacco products, such as cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
“The hospital knows first-hand the devastating impact tobacco use has on a person’s health,” said Fiaza Siddiqi, tobacco use prevention health promoter with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “It’s great to see their leadership taking steps to encourage people to quit smoking and to protect others from second-hand smoke.”
Siddiqi will join other health professionals at a celebration in the hospital’s courtyard on May 31 to mark the launch of the new policy. Staff, patients, and residents will be able to receive support and advice on the steps to quitting tobacco use, and nicotine replacement samples will be available for those who are ready to try to break their addiction. The Health Unit’s tobacco enforcement officer will also be on hand to answer questions about the laws contained in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
Hospital officials are emphasizing that the purpose of the policy is promoting good health to visitors, patients of the hospital, and residents of the home.
“Implementing a policy like this is central to our continuing efforts to make our hospital and home excellent places to work and to receive health care in Haldimand County,” added Montgomery.
In order to ensure the success of the policy, the hospital will screen and assess patient’s tobacco use patterns when they are admitted. These screens will be used to design and offer treatment services for the patient during their stay.
A number of hospital staff, including some doctors, will also receive specialized training on how to offer assistance and support to patients who are ready to quit. The hospital also offers a tobacco clinic that is accessible to anyone, and no referral is needed.
Tobacco Use Prevention Health Promoter
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
905-318-5367 ext. 364