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Publication Detail
Exploring mental health professionals' practice in relation to smoke-free policy within a mental health trust: a qualitative study using the COM-B model of behaviour.
BACKGROUND: Smoking has played a significant role in the historical culture of mental healthcare settings. Mental health professionals (MHPs) often hold dismissive attitudes regarding the importance of smoking cessation in the context of mental healthcare. In 2007, English mental health inpatient buildings were required by law to become smoke-free, and healthcare trusts have more recently begun to implement comprehensive policies (i.e. smoke-free grounds and buildings) and staff training in response to national guidance. It is therefore important to explore MHPs practice around smoking, smoking cessation, and smoke-free policy adherence. This study aimed to explore these issues by using the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation, behaviour) model to systematically identify barriers to, and facilitators for, MHPs addressing smoking with their patients. METHODS: Five focus groups with a total of 36 MHPs were conducted between March and August 2017. MHPs were recruited from one of the largest mental health trusts in Europe. Discussions were guided by a semi-structured guide. Responses were audio recorded, transcribed and coded using thematic analysis and the COM-B framework. RESULTS: Addressing smoking with patients was undermined by MHPs' 1) psychological capability to recall training content, misunderstand the potential benefits of addressing patient smoking and harm reduction approaches; 2) physical opportunity in terms of time constraints, and easy accessibility of tobacco in the community; 3) social opportunity in terms of increased cultural value of tobacco following inpatient smoke-free policy implementation, and lack of support from colleagues to enforce the smoke-free policy; 4) automatic motivation, including intrinsic biases regarding patients abilities and motivations to quit, and 5) reflective motivation, including perceived job role and decision making processes related to addressing behaviours deemed more important than smoking. The main facilitating factors identified were MHPs' having opportunity in the form of patients asking directly for support, and MHPs having access to resources such as stop smoking services and spirometers. CONCLUSION: Multiple barriers were identified across all key domains of the COM-B framework that undermine MHPs' practice regarding smoking cessation. Few facilitators were identified which may have implications for future smoke-free policy and clinical practice.
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