Parental Tobacco Screening and Counseling in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Practitioners’ Attitudes, Perceived Barriers, and Suggestions for Implementation and Maintenance

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Abstract

Introduction:

The pediatric emergency department (PED) is a venue that underuses parental tobacco screening and brief cessation counseling. We sought to explore PED practitioners’ attitudes and perceived barriers regarding the implementation and adoption of tobacco screening/cessation counseling of parental smokers in the PED setting, as well as to solicit suggestions for improving the sustainability and maintenance of such practices.

Methods:

We conducted an exploratory, qualitative study of a convenience sample of PED practitioners using the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework. Individual, focused interviews were conducted to determine factors that would maximize the implementation and maintenance of parental tobacco screening and intervention counseling as standard PED practice.

Results:

Thirty interviews were conducted from which relevant data, patterns, and themes were identified. Reach factors included targeting parental smokers with children with respiratory diseases, having adequate training of practitioners, and providing “prearranged” counseling packages. Effectiveness factors included practitioner desire for outcome data about intervention effectiveness (eg, changes in children’s secondhand smoke exposure and parental quit rates). Solutions to increase intervention adoption included quick electronic health record prompts and the provision of onsite tobacco cessation experts. Implementation suggestions emphasized the importance of financial support and the alignment of tobacco screening/counseling with strategic plans. Maintenance factors included institutional and technical support, as well as the importance of intervention “champions” in the PED.

Discussion:

By highlighting important viewpoints of practitioners regarding tobacco screening and counseling, the findings can help guide and direct the development and evaluation of sustainable interventions to facilitate tobacco use treatment in the PED.

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