Adding screening for health-related social needs to tobacco treatment interventions initiated during hospitalizations may improve intervention effectiveness among vulnerable populations. Our objective was to examine the effect the acceptability and feasibility of a intervention in which a patient navigator screens for and addresses social needs to increase receipt of smoking cessation medication among recently hospitalized smokers at a safety-net hospital.
In a two-group randomized exploratory pilot study, we assigned hospitalized smokers to either the Enhanced Traditional Control (ETC) group (list of smoking cessation resources) or ETC + Patient Navigation (up to 10 h of navigation over a 3-month period, in which a navigator screens for and addresses health-related social needs). We assessed socio-demographics, smoking-related variables, and process data.
Of 171 individuals screened, 44 (26%) were enrolled. Participants (mean age = 54.9 years, 61.4% non-Hispanic black, 68.2% high school education or less) smoked a mean of 11.4 cigarettes/day. 20 participants received a prescription for a cessation medication, 42.9% in the ETC group and 47.8% in the ETC + Patient Navigation group. 11 participants (47.8%) in the ETC + Patient Navigation group received the minimum intervention dose (completion of the social needs screener and at least one counseling session). Barriers to navigation were participants’ medical illness and difficulty connecting with participants.
Although nearly half of hospitalized smokers receiving support from a patient navigator received a prescription for a smoking cessation medication, the percentage did not differ by study arm. Refinement of the protocol to coordinate with hospital-wide tobacco treatment and social needs screening initiatives is needed.
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