Emergency Room Alcohol Screening Program Studied

Barriers to implementation need to be addressed

MONDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A screening and brief intervention to identify individuals with alcohol problems can be successfully performed by emergency department nurses; however, systemic barriers need to be addressed before this process can be widely implemented, according to research published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing in February.

Pierre M. Desy and Cydne Perhaps, both of the Emergency Nurses Association in Des Plaines, Ill., trained 10 coordinators from five participating emergency department sites on a standardized screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) intervention for alcohol abuse. Emergency department nurses were then trained to conduct this intervention with patients. Patient data were collected during the six-month implementation period.

All sites reported barriers to implementation and by the end of the study period, two of five sites were able to fully implement the SBIRT process. A total of 3,265 patients were screened for problems with alcohol. In all, 678 (21 percent) met criteria for hazardous drinking. Among patients with a positive screen, 56 percent received three to five minutes of a brief intervention, and 9 percent to 82 percent were referred for further care.

"The widespread adoption of emergency department SBIRT could potentially reduce alcohol-related morbidity and mortality," write the authors. "Ultimately, the question is not whether emergency department SBIRT should be done, but who should do it and how it should be implemented to be most efficient and effective."

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Updated on June 10, 2022

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