The 9th annual Tobacco-Free Hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards Celebration, hosted by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative, was held on September 27 at the Maine Hospital Association. The event, attended by hospital and public health stakeholders from across the state, recognized efforts by Maine hospitals to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Thirty-two hospitals and three individual Gold Star Champions were highlighted for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.
Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) was recognized for meeting the gold level in the 2018 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program for efforts to prohibit smoke and tobacco use on campus and address client tobacco use. This is the 8th year Franklin Memorial Hospital has participated in the initiative showing a longstanding commitment to addressing tobacco use and exposure.
“Franklin Memorial Hospital is pleased to receive this recognition and set an example for other organizations in our community,” said Miriam Leonard, FMH chief operating officer. “Keeping our campus tobacco free not only impacts the health of employees, patients, and visitors by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, but also communicates the critical message that tobacco use is exceptionally hazardous to health.”
Respiratory Therapist and Tobacco Treatment Specialist Heidi Hilton, RRT, TTS, accepted the award on behalf of Franklin Memorial Hospital. She said, “As part of our tobacco prevention efforts all clinical employees receive a packet of information with tools and ways to address patients’ tobacco use as part of their new employee orientation process. In addition I personally meet with all tobacco users who are admitted to our hospital to determine if a tobacco replacement product may be needed to make their stay more comfortable and to help those who wish to quit, access the resources they need to become tobacco free.”
All Maine hospitals were invited and encouraged to apply for recognition; those that met at least seven of ten Gold Star Standards were recognized with a plaque. Award levels are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment.
At the celebration event, Kenneth I. Lewis, Senior Director for the Center for Tobacco Independence stated that, “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death; we applaud these 32 Maine hospitals for taking proactive steps to address tobacco use and exposure within their organization.”
For more information about Gold Star Standards of Excellence recognition program, please visit BreatheEasyMaine.org/Gold-Star-Standards-of-Excellence.