1. Marrelli, Tina M. MSN, MA, RN

Article Content

Home care and hospice team members are natural educators as they visit patients and their family members in their communities. How many times have you visited a patient with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and as you are visiting the spouse lights up a cigarette near the patient? These "education opportunity moments" are just waiting for us!! And this problem is not just COPD-related. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 36% of patients suffering from COPD are still smoking (Health Behavior News Service, 2006).

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

According to a lead researcher statistician with the CDC, Jeannine Schiller, "It doesn't look like a good part of the COPD population is getting the information it needs from health-care providers" (Health Behavior News Service, 2006). Sadly, almost 23% of the smokers in the study with COPD said that their doctors did not talk to them about quitting smoking within the last year, or offer them suggestions to help them quit. According to public health guidelines, doctors are instructed to talk to all smokers about their tobacco use at every visit and to give them advice on how to quit. This study was conducted on more than 175,000 adults older than 25 and showed that although nearly half of the people with COPD studied tried to quit smoking, only 14.6% were successful. Results of the study were published in the July issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion (Health Behavior News Service, 2006). Readers are referred to Helping Smokers Quit: A Guide for Nurses, which was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in collaboration with Tobacco Free Nurses (AHRQ, 2005). Go to to access the guide online.


We can do better and are in a pivotal role of providing care one patient and family at a time and in their homes. We have their total attention. Articles in this issue support varying aspects of health promotion. For example, home health agencies should consider hiring certified diabetes educators to address the complex and costly aspects of that chronic condition. Arlene J. Chabanuk contributed an article to our series "So You Aspire To Be[horizontal ellipsis]" and provided the data and other information about why CDEs are such important team members and why nurses and others might wish to obtain that credential.


In the many roles that we play in the patient's home, the role of promotion of health may be the most important. We hope this issue helps you in that role!!


Tina M. Marrelli




Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (March 2005). Helping smokers quit: a guide for nurses. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available at:[Context Link]


Health Behavior News Service. (2006). Doctors must help COPD patients quit smoking. Retrieved June 3, 2006 from[Context Link]