By: Kayla Gamino (UNIFIED Tobacco Treatment Specialist)
A session with the tobacco treatment specialists is different for everybody. We meet you wherever you’re at and will continue to be there for you every step of the way. It all starts with a referral from your case manager. At each visit, they will ask about your tobacco use and assess your readiness to quit. If you both decide that you are a good candidate for the tobacco program, the case manager will fill out a referral form with you and give it to the tobacco treatment specialists (TTS).
So how is your readiness to quit determined? Through The FIVE A’s; ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange.
- Ask- Your case manager is required to ask every client about their tobacco use at each visit and record it in our records.
- Advise- If the client answered that they were a tobacco user, then the case manager will advise them to quit their tobacco use and discuss the benefits of doing so.
- Assess- Next, the case manager will assess the clients willingness and readiness to make a quit attempt. If the client is interested in talking to the TTS about tobacco reduction, the case manager will then make the referral to the tobacco treatment specialist. In some cases the case manager will refer the client, with the client’s consent, to the TTS before they are considered “ready” in order to get the client thinking about quitting and to help establish the relationship between the client and the tobacco treatment specialist.
- Assist- At this point, the case manager and the tobacco treatment specialist have touched base and the client is now being assisted by completing sessions with the TTS. During the sessions, the client and TTS will discuss reduction strategies and possible nicotine replacement therapy options. These sessions can go many ways depending on the clients needs. Some clients need to talk about outside sources that are affecting their tobacco use, while others simply want information on tobacco and health.
- Arrange- The TTS will arrange follow-ups with the client. Depending on the clients stage of change and the client’s schedule, the TTS will likely meet weekly or biweekly with the client. These follow-ups can be by phone or in person. In some instances, the TTS will also meet the client at their home or a local business. This is the point in the treatment where the TTS tries to meet the client wherever is easiest for them in order to help make the client more successful in their quit attempt.
How we assess a client’s stage of change:
The Transtheoretical Model
The transtheoretical model is a behavior change model that was specifically created with tobacco cessation in mind. The 5 stages of change are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. It is important to know that the stages of change are not linear (that they don’t go in a single straight order). Someone can go from being in action to contemplation in an instance.
- Precontemplation- the client is not ready to quit or is not even considered quitting.
- Contemplation- the client is considering quitting in the next 6 months.
- Preparation- the client is ready to quit within the next 30 days.
- Action- the client is currently on their quit attempt.
- Maintenance- the client has successfully quit for 6 months.
Because the transtheoretical model is not linear, a client can attempt to quit many times before being successful. It is important to know that the tobacco treatment specialists are aware that not everyone will be successful right off the bat. The specialists are there to help the client every step of the way in a completely non-judgmental environment. Whether you’ve been working with them for months and relapse, or you met with them once and decided the program isn’t for you, they will always be there for you when you are ready to talk again.
Want to learn more about UNIFIED’s tobacco reduction program? Visit us online at http://miunified.org/Get-Help/Services/Tobacco-Reduction-Services for more information.