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At over 50%, this US study's main achievement may have been to show that emergency department nurses can screen a high proportion of patients for risky drinking. After that point it suffered from a low intervention implementation rate, and no statistically significant benefits were found.
A few minutes with specially hired interventionists can curb the intake of heavy-drinking emergency patients, but in routine practice hospital staff will usually have to do this work. A US study tested this real-world scenario and found the modest drinking reductions were short-lived.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
What process research tells us about brief intervention efficacy
The disappointing finding of no impact in a Swiss study of a brief alcohol intervention with risky drinking A&E patients prompted painstaking analyses of why some patients did respond, and why some counsellors had far better results than others.
At a US emergency department, a brief conversation about the pros and cons of their risky drinking and offers of support for any efforts to reduce harm curbed drinking among alcohol-dependent patients; non-dependent patients tended to do better with assessment and usual care only.
At a US emergency department, a brief conversation about the pros and cons of their drinking and offers of support for any efforts to reduce harm led (compared to assessment and usual care) to extra reductions in the drinking of injured Hispanic patients but not white or black patients.
At a US emergency department, a brief conversation about the pros and cons of their risky drinking and offers of support for any efforts to reduce harm led to extra reductions in the drinking of Hispanic patients which were greatest when they were matched to a Hispanic and Spanish-speaking counsellor.
STUDY 2006 PDF file 198Kb
Drink-driving cut by 30-minute talk with hospital patients
Patients admitted to a US hospital following a traffic accident had fewer arrests for drink-driving after a short talk with hospital staff about their drinking, the first such finding and one which reinforced the case for hospital-based brief interventions.
STUDY 2006 PDF file 199Kb
A&E units save health service resources by addressing drinking
This US study estimated that each $ spent screening for and offering advice to heavy drinking emergency patients would save nearly $4 in health care costs due to reduced hospital re-attendance. A British trial suggests similar savings might be found in the UK.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 153Kb
Communities can reduce drink-driving deaths
A multi-million dollar attempt to equip US communities to tackle substance misuse only succeeded in reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths when treatment initiatives were supplemented by measures to limit the availability of alcohol.
STUDY 2009 HTM file
Counselor skill influences outcomes of brief motivational interventions
Few studies can manage the painstaking analyses needed to identify what makes for successful counselling. This Swiss study broke new ground in dissecting why some brief interventionists had far better results than others with risky drinking A&E patients.
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