Capital Health is expanding its no-smoking policy to patients' homes this fall after home-care workers complained about secondhand smoke.
Patients are already banned from smoking inside or near Halifax hospitals, but as of Oct. 20 health-care workers who make home visits will have the same protection.
Kevin Robson has had in-home care for several years. A worker comes to change the bandages on his diabetic ulcers three times a week.
He smokes, but he says never when the caregiver is there.
“They have always asked me, ‘Do you smoke’? and I say, ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you mind not smoking while they're there?’ and I say, ‘Absolutely don't mind that a bit.’ I think that’s proper because they’re health-care workers,” he said.
Capital Health says the change was requested by employees who had health concerns about secondhand smoke. The policy covers cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
“Staff who are providing in-home services are in contact with patients and clients or their families before the visit and as part of that assessment they ask if there is any smoking or vapour use in the home and if so, ask that the patient, client, and any others present don't smoke or use e-cigarettes while the staff member is providing care in the home,” said Sharon MacIntosh, the health authority’s health promotion co-ordinator.
MacIntosh says many patients who smoke already avoid lighting up when their caregiver visits. She doesn’t anticipate any issues.
Robson says he’s fine with the impending changes.
“They’re there to help me so I don't mind putting the cigarettes down for a half hour or even an hour. No trouble at all. I think that’s only common courtesy, really,” he said.
Capital Health employees make home visits for a wide range of services, including light housekeeping and physiotherapy
Victorian Order of Nurses who visit homes have had a smoke-free policy since at least 2005.