Background: Hospitalisation of a child is a unique opportunity for health staff to offer smoking cessation support; that is screening for carer smoking status, discussing cessation and providing interventions to carers who smoke. This has the potential to reduce the child’s exposure to second-hand smoke, and in turn tobacco related illnesses in children. However, these interventions are not always offered in paediatric wards. The aim of this study was to explore the provision and prioritisation of smoking cessation support to patient carers in a paediatric ward with a high proportion of Aboriginal patients and carers in a regional area of Australia’s Northern Territory.
Methods: This is a qualitative descriptive study of data collected through semi-structured interviews with 19 health staff. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcripts.
Results: We found low prioritisation of addressing carer smoking due to, a lack of systems and procedures to screen for smoking and provide quitting advice and unclear systems for providing more detailed cessation support to carers. Staff were demotivated by the lack of clear referral pathways. There were gaps in skills and knowledge, and health staff expressed a need for training opportunities in smoking cessation.
Conclusion: Health staff perceived they would provide more cessation support if there was a systematic approach with evidence-based resources for smoking cessation. These resources would include guidelines and clinical record systems with screening tools, clear action plans and referral pathways to guide clinical practice. Health staff requested support to identify existing training opportunities on smoking cessation.