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Confirmation that brief advice to risky drinkers identified in accident and emergency departments can cut drinking and reduce the chance of further injuries and readmissions; the issue now is why this happens sometimes but not always.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 146Kb
Heavily drinking emergency patients cut down after referral for counselling
Latest in a series of studies at a London emergency unit found drinking reductions and reduced re-attendance after referring heavy drinkers for brief counselling. Screening and referral were routine at the unit, suggesting the model could be widely implemented.
Combining results from the few available evaluations of emergency department-based alcohol interventions suggests these substantially reduce alcohol-related injuries, but the estimate may not be applicable outside the USA or to all emergency patients.
Just a few minutes with specially hired screening and intervention staff can make a difference to emergency patients' drinking, but in the real world the hospital's own staff will usually do this work. A US study tested this real-world scenario and still found (modest) drinking reductions.
This huge US study set out to test whether widespread screening and brief intervention for illegal drug use (not just heavy drinking) could be implemented in a variety of general medical settings and whether it was effective. Both tests seem to have been passed, but with some important caveats.
Scottish study suggests there is no need for sophisticated and extended advice to prompt heavy drinking hospital patients to cut down, making the case for low cost, large scale screening and intervention.
STUDY 2003 PDF file 188Kb
Nurses help prevent hazardous drinking while caring for injured drinkers
This British study found that young men injured after binge drinking respond well to a brief intervention mounted in a hospital clinic dealing with injuries of the kind often related to drinking.
STUDY 2003 PDF file 172Kb
Injury rate cut in heavy drinking accident and emergency patients
One of the few studies to have tried alcohol interventions in the emergency department rather than after admission was also the first to find a significant reduction in later injuries, but only if the initial approach had been reinforced with a booster.
REVIEW 2002 PDF file 1279Kb
Investing in alcohol treatment: brief interventions
Second instalment of the comprehensive review funded by Australia's health department examines brief talks to heavy drinkers identified at hospitals or in primary care. Do they work, and how can staff be encouraged to implement them?
STUDY 2001 PDF file 187Kb
Emergency patients benefit from minimal alcohol intervention
Patients screened for alcohol problems in a Swedish emergency surgical ward responded well to a simple brief intervention delivered by ward staff; outcomes were not further improved by professional counselling.
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