Screening and Recording of Patients??? Alcohol???use Habit by Clinicians in a Tertiary Accident and Emergency Unit in Ireland

Author(s): Nkire N, Udoh G, Elahi M, Cotter D, MacHale S

Background: Alcohol is widely consumed in Ireland; more so in major urban centers. Alcohol‑related problems account for a significant number of Accident and Emergency (A and E) department presentations in Ireland. As a result, the national alcohol policy calls on doctors to be proactive in screening for and addressing alcohol misuse. Aim: The aim of the following study is to determine if patients presenting to a tertiary North Dublin A and E were asked about their alcohol use habit and if it was recorded. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive observational study involving the retrospective review of case‑notes for all patients who were assessed at the A and E Department of a North Dublin general hospital over a 1 week period for screening about their alcohol use habit. Data was entered into and analyzed using Microsoft Excel. Results: Only 17% (106/613) of the A and E attendees over the study period were asked about their alcohol use habit or had it recorded. No case‑note examined documented use of alcohol screening instruments. Conclusion: This study has revealed an inadequacy of enquiry about alcohol use habit. In light of high rates of alcohol misuse in Ireland we suggest the need for improved enquiry/screening and recording of alcohol use among all patients attending A and E’s.


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