A new Alcohol Liaison Team has been introduced at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to improve care for patients who need a more appropriate treatment setting than hospital.
The NHS Long Term Plan outlines the importance of an integrated alcohol pathway with specific alcohol care teams. For an initial five month pilot, nurses Nadine Guthrie-Jones and Kelly Albutt will be working to improve care for patients who are currently frequent attenders in the Emergency Department or whose alcohol issues are the key reason for their hospital admission.
Excessive alcohol can cause cardiovascular disease, cancers and liver disease, as well as harm from accidents, violence and self-harm. More than 1.1 million hospital admissions each year have alcohol as a causal factor in the patient’s diagnosis. And 100,000 admissions per year are for conditions that directly indicate alcohol dependence.
The role of the Alcohol Liaison Team will be to:
- Assess the patient
- Provide brief intervention
- Liaise with community services
- Assist with managing alcohol withdrawals
- Help assess whether admission is the best outcome for the patient
The main aim of the service is to ensure that patients are safely detoxed in a setting other than an acute hospital.
Nadine, who has been working with alcohol dependant patients for more than 15 years, said: “I have found that often patients admitted for medically assisted alcohol withdrawal can be best managed within a community setting where they receive holistic support.
“Regrettably, from my experience, patients are unlikely to successfully continue treatment on discharge from a hospital and therefore require specific community interventions. Kelly and I will be aiming to link these patients to holistic community support to treat medical, social and housing issues.”
The service will also be providing education to staff and patients on alcohol abuse over the coming weeks.