What can I do if I am unhappy about visiting a service user who is a heavy smoker? | QCS

What can I do if I am unhappy about visiting a service user who is a heavy smoker?

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Answered by Emily Kerrigan

The health and safety of staff should be safeguarded by a service, alongside ensuring the support and care needs of service users are being met. With this in mind, a service should put in place robust care plan and risk assessment processes and clearly document where a service user smokes in their own home. Although this is not something that can be stopped, steps should be in place to minimise exposure to second-hand smoke, such as no smoking an hour prior to your visit or smoking in designated rooms.


In a situation where you are experiencing exposure to second-hand smoke on visits, in the first instance, I would highlight your concerns to your manager. This should trigger a review of the service user’s care plan and risk assessments to ascertain if the service user is in breach of the Smoking Policy and Procedure in place when they started with the service. Following the review, the necessary action should be taken, including any further steps to mitigate your exposure and this should be monitored.

About Emily Kerrigan

Emily has a background in quality and compliance with specific expertise in audit. Her previous roles have included working with domiciliary care branches that required improvement and supporting them to action plan and improve their quality and compliance. Working at one of the largest UK domiciliary care providers ensured Emily was exposed to significant numbers of CQC, CIW and Care Inspectorate Scotland inspections. She led internal audits bench marking against regulatory standards , supporting managers in the drive to deliver high quality care and support. Emily has a proven track record in supporting the transformation of branches that require improvement, moving them to compliant and on the journey to outstanding. Read more

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