There are a couple of different scenarios which commonly produce burn injuries in nursing homes from cigarettes and other smoking materials:
- The resident is unable to properly handle a cigarette and drops onto his or her own clothing or blankets, and due to physical or mental limitations is unable to remove it before a fire starts;
- The resident is using supplemental oxygen and the combination of concentrated oxygen and the flame from the cigarette starts a flash fire.
Common steps that should be taken to minimize the risk of a smoking accident in a nursing home include:
- Encourage the nursing home resident to quit smoking
- Establish a smoking area which is designated as the only area on the premises in which smoking is permitted
- Strictly enforce tobacco use policies
- Require supervision while smoking for residents who are unable to safely handle smoking materials
- Require removal of supplemental oxygen supplies while smoking
- Educate the resident on steps that must be taken to assure safe smoking
- Limit access to tobacco materials for residents who are unable to safely handle smoking materials so that no smoking is done without staff supervision.