Hospitals are very busy places where people are caring for people, working hard to make them well. Hand hygiene (hand washing) is the single most important thing health care workers can do to prevent infection.
Washing your hands is also a key way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While providing care for you, remind health care providers to wash or sanitize their hands to prevent passing infection to you or themselves. It is okay to remind them and we encourage you to do so.
For your health, it is important to remember to wash your own hands before you eat, after using the bathroom, bedpan, or commode, and after touching something soiled. It is important for your visitors to follow these instructions too.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds, rinse and dry with a paper towel. It is a good idea to turn off the faucet handle with a paper towel to avoid soiling your hands again.
To ensure the health and safety of Baystate Health patients, visitors, and employees, smoking is not permitted:
- In any Baystate Health patient room, building or office.
- Outdoors on any Baystate Health property, including parking facilities.
- At any event or program sponsored or presented by Baystate Health.
This 2007 policy is in line with the Baystate Health mission: "To improve the health of the people in our communities every day, with quality and compassion."
The Smoke-Free Environment Policy
Smoking is strictly prohibited in all buildings and properties owned or leased by Baystate Health as well as on the grounds of those facilities, including:
- Patient rooms
- Lounges and public spaces
- Building entryways
- Campus walkways
- Parking lots and garages
- Company-owned vehicles
- Private vehicles when on Baystate Health property.
- Smoking is not permitted at Baystate Health-sponsored events.
Assistance for Patients and Visitors Who Smoke
The smoke-free environment may be uncomfortable for patients who smoke. Our support services will help patients and visitors who smoke comply with the policy while on Baystate Health property.
Make sure hospital admissions staff and your nurse know you are a smoker so we can make support available to you.
Your nurse will ask you if you want to use a nicotine replacement product during your stay. If you do:
- The nurse will contact your physician to order an appropriate product.
- There is a high risk of medical complications if you smoke while using a nicotine replacement product.
- Be sure to tell the nurse how you are dealing with your cravings.
- Withdrawal peaks on the third day of not smoking. We will do all we can to help you deal with severe nicotine cravings.
Close to your discharge date, you may ask to meet with a smoking cessation expert from the hospital who can help you find a quit smoking program in your community.
Please remind your visitors about the Baystate Health no smoking policy and ask them to comply during their visits.
Visitors must observe the smoke-free policy for the health and comfort of you and other patients and visitors. Gum, mints and hard candy can help smokers manage nicotine cravings during their visits.
Smoke Cessation Options
A physician can help you determine which smoke cessation program and technique is best and safest for you:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): provides measured amounts of nicotine to help reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. NRT comes in different forms.
- Inhalation devices
- Acupuncture: involves inserting flexible needles into the skin to reduce the side effects of nicotine withdrawal.
- Behavior Modification Program: Individual, group, or telephone counseling.
- Hypnosis: can help strengthen motivation and reduce the physical and "habit" cravings for nicotine.
- Non-nicotine Medications - such as Zyban® or ChantixTM
Facts About Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illnesses and deaths in the United States.
Smoking is the major cause of hospital admissions and re-admissions.
More than 440,000 people die in the U.S. each year from smoking-related diseases.
This is more than all alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car crash, fire and AIDS deaths, combined.
For every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more people who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking.
Smoking costs the U.S. nearly $150 billion a year in healthcare and other expenses.
Patients who smoke:
- Have twice the risk of wound infection than do non-smokers
- Are slower to heal after surgery or trauma
- Have increased gastrointestinal, prenatal and orthopedic complications.
Smoking in pregnancy accounts for:
- An estimated 20 to 30 percent of low-birth weight babies
- Up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries
- Some 10 percent of all infant deaths.
Even apparently healthy, full-term babies being born with narrowed airways and curtailed lung function.
Smoking parents causes adverse health effects in their children, including:
- Exacerbation of asthma
- Increased frequency of colds and ear infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome
Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infections in children less than 18 months of age, resulting in 7,500 to 15,000 annual hospitalizations.