The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

TOBACCO USE AND DEPENDENCE: CLINICAL INTERVENTIONS AND THE RESPIRATORY THERAPIST

Georgianna Sergakis1, Crystal Alfred1,2, Rachel Brown1,2, NineEva Prentiss1,2, Sarah M. Varekojis1; 1Respiratory Therapy Division School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; 2Respiratory Therapy, OSU Medical Center, Columbus, OH

Background: Brief clinical interventions are effective to assist tobacco users in quitting and are recommended to all patients regardless of willingness to quit. All members of the multidisciplinary team, including the RT, should be involved in this process. The specific role of the RT in this endeavor has not been extensively examined. This study described RTs’ knowledge of pharmacotherapy,tobacco dependence interventions, and the frequency of use of the Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. This study also described RTs’ confidence in providing counseling for tobacco use. Method: A survey was distributed to a convenience sample of approximately 575 RTs that attended a conference held in Columbus, Ohio. Descriptive statistics were employed to analyze results. Results:475 out of 575 conference attendees completed the questionnaire (82.6%). The mean age of the sample was 40.2 years (11.8) with an average of 15.5 years (10.8) of experience in the profession. Most (59%) of the participants were Registered Respiratory Therapists and 53.4% had an associate’s degree. While the majority of participants (85%) felt that it is the RTs role and the majority (74.2%) agree that the hospital is a useful place to discuss tobacco use, only 37.8% of participants said they always ask patients about their smoking status. When asked about situations appropriate for counseling, only 35.3% of the sample stated they made it a point to discuss smoking with all patients that smoke. Participants had moderate knowledge of strategies for tobacco users unwilling to quit. Regarding pharmacotherapy knowledge, none of the participants could identify all of the recommended pharmacotherapies available. Almost half (43.3%) of participants were unable to name any recommended first-line pharmacotherapies. 76% felt confident in their ability to counsel tobacco users about quitting. Conclusions: The results of the study suggest that RTs are confident and willing, but lack knowledge of clinical practice guidelines and appropriate pharmacotherapy. Implementing training programs and infusing tobacco dependence education in RT educational programs, offering incentives, and promoting a responsibility of practice for RTs at the bedside will assist RTs in taking an active role in providing effective clinical interventions for tobacco dependence. This change in practice and culture would lead to decreased tobacco dependence and improved clinical outcomes. Sponsored Research - None

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