A new Alcohol Liaison Team trialled at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to improve care for patients who need a more appropriate treatment setting than hospital has now become permanent.
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.
Back in January 2021, a five month pilot was initially trialled by nurses Nadine Guthrie-Jones and Kelly Albutt 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.
After a successful trial, this has now become a permanent service for the Trust and is funded for the next two years by NHS England as part of the Long Term Plan to improve care for patients with alcohol misuse issues.
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.
The service is now led by Lead Alcohol Nurse Mandy Jones and Alcohol Nurse Kelly Albutt and is currently running Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm.
Mandy said: “I feel the Trust is in need of the service as rates of alcohol-related injury and deaths has risen in the last few years. Our job is to offer support and help to people who are using alcohol to harmful levels, which can affect their physical and mental health.
She added: “We often get approached by staff who comment saying it’s great that we offer this service now, as previously there was not any ongoing support for people in this client group.”