The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network, an initiative of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, recognized Pen Bay Medical Center with ten out of ten stars, a gold level award for creating a tobacco-free hospital environment and supporting tobacco-free lifestyles for patients, staff and the community. The annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence awards program celebration, held at the Maine Hospital Association on March 27, highlighted the efforts of Maine hospital champions. This is the third year in a row that Pen Bay received a Gold Star Award, one of 19 Maine hospitals that met ten of ten evidence-based standards.
The Gold Star Standards of Excellence program is an opportunity for hospitals to be recognized for meeting these evidence based strategies, including adopting a tobacco-free campus policy, providing readily available tobacco cessation for staff and patients, divesting from all tobacco investments and recommending community lodging that is smoke-free. “By meeting these standards, hospitals all across Maine, both urban and rural, have taken critical steps to provide a healthier environment by addressing the leading cause of preventable disease and death – tobacco use,” said Sarah Mayberry, program director of the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network.
The Pen Bay campus in Rockport went completely tobacco-free Sept. 1, 2009. The hospital prohibits the use of all tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco) on Pen Bay property including grounds, parking areas and all vehicles parked on hospital grounds.
The Pen Bay campus is comprised of Pen Bay Medical Center and its physical plant building, the Pen Bay Physicians Building, the Childcare Center, Pen Bay Women’s Health/Pen Bay Urology building and the campus walking trails.
“We agree with the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine and believe that establishing a tobacco-free environment in hospitals sets a clear example of good health practices and puts patients, visitors, and employees first by providing a healthy atmosphere,” said Sue Low, an occupational health nurse at Pen Bay who has long been involved with tobacco-free efforts at Pen Bay and in the larger Midcoast community. “A tobacco-free environment also encourages both patients and employees to quit tobacco use – and it’s just good, plain common sense.”
Pen Bay provides employees with smoking cessation information and programs. A free Freshstart program is available to the Midcoast community. This four-week program begins May 1 at the Picker Family Resource Center on the Pen Bay Medical Center campus in Rockport. For more information or to register, call 596-8950.