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The Primary Health Care Clinic at The Ottawa Mission is a very busy place. On any given day, the two Nurse Practitioners in the clinic will see an average of 12-14 patients with a wide variety of health issues.  They are always looking for ways to help people in shelters stay healthy and connect with community programs that will assist with that.

One of the newer programs that is attracting the interest of those staying at the shelter is a “Smoking Cessation” program offered through a partnership that includes The University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health.

Every Thursday morning, a smoking cessation counselor visits The Ottawa Mission to meet with anyone who is interested in quitting smoking. Many are encouraged by our Nurse Practitioners to try the program and although nicotine is one of the hardest habits to quit, some of the men are having success and say they are staying motivated by the weekly counseling sessions and the nicotine replacement therapy they are receiving, like patches, inhalers or gum.

The clients are very appreciative of this service and have continuously commented that making these changes in their smoking behaviour would not have been possible without this program.  “Counseling is absolutely necessary – person to person – not by phone,” says George, one of the men. “I was stuck and not able to move forward, but now I am. Thank you.”

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