Dangers of smoking on home oxygen highlighted

A hard-hitting film about the dangers of smoking while on home oxygen was launched at an event hosted by NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group last week (14 October 2015).

The film, produced by Hull community respiratory nurse specialist Julie Danby in partnership with Humberside Fire & Rescue Service, was aired at Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds, to around 100 respiratory nurses and consultants, paediatric nurses, GPs and other professionals involved in the administering of home oxygen to approximately 8000 patients in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Delegates were shown the film, produced this summer, which warns about the potentially devastating consequences of smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes while using home oxygen. It features images of flash burns caused to face and hands and shows how quickly fire can spread in an oxygen-enriched environment.

It was produced in response to rising serious injuries and fatalities from house fires caused by smoking while on oxygen therapy and reflected research which showed that patients are well aware of the risks and the most powerful message that would stop them was knowing the risk to family members.

The film is being shown to all patients who have been prescribed home oxygen in Humberside, and its powerful message has already influenced five patients in Humberside to quit smoking. NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group are working on plans to roll it out across the other three fire and rescue services in the region, including West Yorkshire.

Ms Danby was also joined by Jacqui Pollington, Pontefract and Wakefield respiratory nurse, to chair a debate about the challenges facing health and social care practitioners involved in administering home oxygen when there is a risk the patient will smoke in close proximity.

NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group manages the Home Oxygen national contract and performance and monitoring for Yorkshire and Humberside. Charlotte Coles, based at the CCG as Regional Lead for Home Oxygen – Yorkshire and Humber, echoed these concerns:

“Currently, practitioners are having to make some very difficult decisions about patient care, with significant safeguarding and legal implications, and no national policy to back them up. Prescribing home oxygen for patients who are often highly dependent on smoking, but also likely to be very unwell without the oxygen, has to be weighed up against significant risks, not only for the patients themselves but also their family and friends, and residents of neighbouring properties.”

To help tackle this issue, Ms Coles is leading for the region on the development of a national risk assessment toolkit, being developed with NHS England, which will reflect best practice and help bring consistency across the country.



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