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Smoking Withdrawal and Prolonged Hospitalization

Eric Zack
CJON 2002, 6(1), 7-11 DOI: 10.1188/02.CJON.7-11

Many individuals who smoke are hospitalized for extended periods of time for treatment of their diseases. These patients are at increased risk for developing withdrawal symptoms and maladaptive behavior because hospitals have adopted smoke-free policies in accordance with federal law and consumer pressures. Tobacco addiction often is overlooked by healthcare providers or receives low priority on admission. Oncology nurses care for a chronic population of people who often require lengthy treatments and frequent complications resulting in admissions to the hospital. Nurses need to identify high-risk patients; continually educate themselves, their patients, and their patients' families about smoking withdrawal and cessation therapies; anticipate coping difficulties; and be prepared to manage inappropriate behavior when necessary. A multidisciplinary team approach using consistent reinforcement and support offers the best patient outcomes while maximizing safety.

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