A holistic approach to ABC support for patients who smoke

As a disease that primarily attacks the lungs and respiratory system, it comes as no surprise that a UK study in 2021 found that smokers were 80% more likely to hospitalised due to COVID-19 than nonsmokers. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, and with preparations for the Omicron wave underway, it’s timely to consider a holistic and equitable approach to ABC Support.

Sue Aitken, Kaiārahi, Team Leader – Health Promotion Programmes, asks practices to remember the ABC pathway, and to refer patients requiring support to Te Hā – Waitaha via ERMS.

“One of the most efficient ways is to opportunistically check and update patients if they’re a smoker and ask if they’d like any support to quit, as part of any general consult or health check.”

“Update the dashboard fully. When you’re updating alcohol or smears or  any other checks on the dashboard, update their smoking and offer brief advice as well.

“Or, if you’re writing it in the daily record, make sure you also code ABC, so it shows it’s been done and doesn’t end up on someone else’s list of recalls.”

Sue’s second piece of advice for improving equity, is to look at your patients holistically.

“Don’t build up a whole list and think, I’ve got to do a whole lot of smoking phone calls and ring them just about their smoking. When you ring a patient, look at them holistically and notice that that patient needs a cervical screen, cessation support offered, and a catch up imms… that kind of approach.

“At a minimum, we ask all our practices if they can holistically recall their Māori and Pasifika patients as a priority. And then the ABC team can assist with recalls to offer Cessation Support to other overdue patients.”


View the February newsletter.