²gether NHS Foundation Trust’s Honeybourne Recovery Unit, Cheltenham, is the first unit to set up and run a support group for residents, carers and members of staff. The Group offers help and advice on how to become smoke free.
Facilitated by Annette Edmunds Smoking Cessation Clinical Specialist from Gloucestershire Stop Smoking Service, a nurse specifically trained in the area of going smoke free. The group meets every Wednesday from 10am – 12 noon and provides a sharing and educative environment with an emphasis on health promotion in an encouraging atmosphere. Annette provides information and support. She also provides vouchers for Nicotine Replacement Therapy appropriate for the individual.
Annette Edmunds, facilitator of the group, said: ‘This is the only group that I facilitate which is available to everyone in contact with the unit. To me this is a brilliant idea as everyone needs help and support when making the decision to give up smoking. To have this available from the people you spend the most time with and who can understand what you’re going through just makes sense.
The group is currently attended by and open to residents, clinical and non clinical staff, carers of residents and volunteers who want to find out more about quitting smoking and the different resources available to help them achieve this. Between each meeting there are also opportunities for residents to meet up with staff to provide 1:1 additional support when needed.
Annette continued: “Research has shown that people with mental health problems tend to smoke heavily and therefore suffer physical ill health at an early age. Staff actively encourage and promote the different resources available to services users to help them give up smoking and lead a healthy lifestyle, so why shouldn’t these be available to staff as well.
“I think the reason the Honeybourne group works so well is that regardless of whether you are a service user, a member of staff or a carer everyone is equal in the group and as a result the working and professional relationships between service users, staff and carers have benefited.”
²gether are currently providing information, smoke free champions and support to all members of staff across all of its sites on the resources available to help them quit smoking.