Smokefree future for SVDH explored
No smoking policy not so easy
A ‘No Smoking’ campus might take three years to implement, but Sierra View Local Health Care District Board of Directors is looking ahead at beginning the process of implementing such an initiative in the new future.
A report on the ongoing research at making Sierra View District Hospital a nonsmoking facility was presented the Board Tuesday morning by Mike Kobale, director of facilities.
“Doing this properly, having a nonsmoking environment, is a lengthy process,” Kobale said.
Kobale used the University of Michigan, with its 100-plus buildings, as an example, stating it took three years to make it a nonsmoking facility, and businesses in Southern California that took two years, but would have preferred having six more months, he said he learned, and passed out a 14-point checklist for taking action towards a tobacco-free hospital.
Kobale said he had a couple of concerns about implementing the plan — how was the hospital going to enforce the policy and how would they deal with guests and patient smokers.
“Staff can be compliant but guests and patients?” Kobale asked.
Kobale talked about the importance of patrolling and clearing the grounds of cigarette butts — something that is important for Joint Commission standards.
“One or two cigarette butts and we’re in violation of our own policy,” Kobale said.
To implement such an initiative will take education — informing employees, patients, visitors, vendors and the community at large — on what is happening; and offering and promoting tobacco-cessation services to employees.
Board member Kent Sorrells pointed out that as a health facility, the hospital should be a smoke free environment and asked if it was possible to begin with small steps — making the hospital courtyard a non-smoking courtyard.
Kathleen Widlund, vice president of patient care services, talked about patient rights and the need to supply a room for patients to smoke.
Other issues discussed revolved around the hospital’s current smoking courtyard, possible internal and external smoking patios, employees taking longer breaks and crossing the street to neighboring homes to smoke, and visitors who frequently clean their vehicle’s ashtrays by dumping them in the hospital parking lot.
“Maybe its too much for the hospital to take on. Maybe we should address it next year,” Sorrells said, after asking numerous questions about other possible solutions to finding a designated area for smokers.
But if it is not started, it will never happen, he was informed.
“We need to get a cessation program out first, then provide it to staff who truly want to quit,” Kobale said.
The first step is always the hardest, he said, talking about the first three to four months. But after jumping through all the hurdles, eventually the clean air will provide more socializing opportunities as smokers will not be taking breaks with other smokers but with nonsmokers as well.
Hospital CEO Joe Stewart praised the guidelines presented by Kobale and said a sense of the board was needed to move forward towards its ultimate goal.
The board agreed that there was a sense of the board, and whether it took three or four years to implement, it needed to be explored further.