Guidelines for the partial exemption of involuntary mental health inpatients aged 18 years and over in certain circumstances from the application of certain aspects of the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy

The Department of Health (DOH) allows that some patients, in certain circumstances, may be exempted from specific aspects of OD 0414/13 Smoke Free WA Health System Policy (external site).

In making an exemption, the following criteria must be satisfied:

  1. The exemption will only apply to involuntary mental health in-patients aged 18 and over.
  2. The decision to smoke rests in the hands of the patient, provided it does not interfere with their treatment regime and/or safe operation of the service.
  3. Where an exemption has been made, there should be demonstrable evidence for example:
    • documented evidence on the patient’s file of a nicotine dependency assessment and treatment care plan or Quit Smoking Plan or similar
    • that nicotine replacement therapy or other treatment options have been fully considered as part of the patient treatment pathway, in consultation with the client and/or their carers.
  4. Smoking will only be permitted in a designated outdoor smoking area, at sites where this is practicable. Designated smoking areas must be located no closer than 5 metres from entrances to buildings and 10 metres from ventilation air intakes.
  5. Staff, visitors, non-smoking patients and contractors are not to be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke from the designated outdoor smoking areas, and are not permitted to smoke in the designated area.
  6. The operation of the exemption does not override occupational safety and health considerations for employees. Staff cannot be compelled to come into contact with patients in designated smoking areas, where there is evidence of tobacco smoke.
  7. Options to support patients to quit or to reduce smoking will be revisited and encouraged throughout the duration of the patient’s involuntary status.

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