Three Weeks of Medical Leave for People Quitting Smoking?

By 22 June 2018

Patients will have to come to a hospital every day for three weeks.

The first outpatient clinic for the treatment of smoking addiction is about to be launched in Zagreb. Smokers will be able to receive three weeks of therapy, medication and training for free if sent by their family physicians, and they will also get three weeks of medical leave from work, reports Večernji List on June 22, 2018.

The programme was created by the “Sveti Ivan” Psychiatric Hospital in Zagreb, which is currently forming the first group of smoking addiction patients. The group is limited to 15 members, and the only condition is for patients to be over 18 years of age.

The patients will not be hospitalised, but will instead come to the clinic every day for three weeks, and some will receive medications which reduce the craving for nicotine. All patients will have their carbon monoxide in the body levels checked with an appliance purchased for this original treatment programme. The device shows the level of carbon monoxide in the patient's body. The point is not just to control the smokers, but also to motivate them since they will be able to see the progress and the benefits of not smoking for themselves.

“The three weeks will include the preparation phase and the early-abstinence monitoring. It is possible that the duration of the programme will be adapted. Patients should get a referral from their physicians, and then we will evaluate whether they are really motivated to stop smoking. The patients will also undergo routine lab tests,” said Irena Rojnić Palavra, a psychiatrist with the hospital.

Programme attendees will hear from a variety of addiction experts who will help them get rid of the habit. The team will also assess candidates for anti-smoking drugs. They influence nicotine receptors, reduce cravings and abstinence disorders. The key part of the process is the first day of the third week when the patients will actually stop smoking. During that period, the main focus will be on support groups.

Families will also be included in the treatment process, just like with the treatment of any other addiction, and patients will have available support groups even after the programme is over. Like other Jankomir hospital patients, the smokers will be included in creative activities, use a hospital gym, take part in group visits to museums and similar activities.

“We wanted to be with them in the most sensitive period, immediately after they stop smoking. They will be in contact with us at the time when the likelihood of relapse is high. To devote three weeks to this is not too much if we consider how much time people spend to go through one cigarette package a day,” said Davor Bodor, head of the outpatient clinic, calling on all the smokers to apply and start the treatment.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Ivana Rimac Lesički).