Emergency department’s alcohol intervention reducing re-presentation

Two men stand in front of an emergency department buildingAn intervention to reduce alcohol abuse and associated emergency department (ED) presentations has proved successful at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH), as published in a recent South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS), Curtin and Edith Cowan University study.

Study authors and Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group’s (FSFHG)gastroenterologists, Professor John K. Olynyk (left in picture) and Dr Simon Hazeldine (right in picture), found that for patients who had alcohol screening and brief intervention (ASBI) management of alcohol-related problems in the FSH ED, there were beneficial effects on at-risk alcohol consumption and reduced ED re-presentations when combined with GP follow-up.

“Alcohol consumption was significantly reduced at one month for those ED patients who had the intervention,” Professor Olynyk said.

“This was sustained at three months in the intervention group who also had a referral letter sent to their GP at discharge.”

Dr. Hazeldine said that alcohol related presentations to the ED were common.

“Alcohol-related events account for about 10 per cent of ED presentations, making it not only an ideal place for intervention, but also an area to target to reduce demand on the ED.”

With 1 in 6 Australians drinking alcohol at a level that increases their lifetime risk of alcohol-related disease or injury, the intervention provides a point of time to facilitate reflection on personal alcohol consumption is a vital opportunity for those who are willing to change.

“The study shows the importance of working with GPs’ and primary care to reduce pressure on the ED demand and readmissions.”

The study was published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health and made possible by funding provided from the WA Primary Health Alliance under the Australian Government’s PHN Program.

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Last Updated: 19/08/2021