Alcohol assessment: the practice, knowledge, and attitudes of staff working in the general medical wards of a large metropolitan hospital
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Aims To measure the prevalence of routine alcohol assessment; to assess its clinical utility in the general medical wards of a large urban hospital; and to assess medical and nursing staff knowledge with regard to standard drink measures and recommended drinking limits as well as their attitudes towards alcohol assessment. Methods The prevalence of alcohol assessment and the clinical utility of the resulting information was determined via a retrospective file review (n=109). The knowledge and attitudes of medical and nursing staff were measured via questionnaire (n=106). Results The file review data indicated 78% (ᷮ25) of patients admitted to the general medical wards were queried with regard to their alcohol consumption. However, the clinical utility of the recorded information was generally poor and the accuracy questionable. Only 12% of questionnaire respondents were able to accurately identify the standard drink equivalents for beer, wine, and spirits and only 8% were able to accurately identify the recommended drinking limits (per drinking occasion and per week) for both males and females. Attitudes towards alcohol assessment were positive. Conclusions Patient alcohol consumption is frequently assessed, but the clinical utility of the resulting information is limited. The use of a structured alcohol screen and the provision of appropriate staff training are recommended.
New Zealand Medical Journal
© 2007 New Zealand Medical Association. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified