INTRODUCTION AND AIMS
To explore the association between primary care professionals’ (PCPs) attitudes towards unhealthy alcohol and other drug (AOD) use (from risky use through dependence) and readiness to implement AOD-related preventive care.
DESIGN AND METHODS
PCPs from 5 health centers in Sao Paulo were invited to complete a questionnaire about preventive care and attitudes about people with unhealthy AOD use. Logistic regression models tested the association between professional satisfaction and readiness. Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) assessed associations between stigmatizing attitudes and readiness.
Of 160 PCPs surveyed, 96 (60%) completed the questionnaire. Only 25% reported implementing unhealthy AOD use clinical prevention practices; and 53% did not feel ready to implement such practices. Greater satisfaction when working with people with AOD problems was significantly associated with readiness to implement AOD-related preventive care. In MCA two groups emerged: 1. PCPs ready to work with people with unhealthy AOD use, who attributed to such patients lower levels of dangerousness, blame for their condition and need for segregation from the community (suggesting less stigmatizing attitudes); 2. PCPs not ready to work with people with unhealthy AOD use, who attributed to them higher levels of dangerousness, blame, perceived level of patient control over their condition, and segregation (suggesting more stigmatizing attitudes).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
More stigmatizing attitudes towards people with unhealthy AOD use are associated with less readiness to implement unhealthy AOD-related preventive care. Understanding these issues is likely essential to facilitating implementation of preventive care, such as screening and brief intervention, for unhealthy AOD use.
Alcohol; Drugs; Primary Health Care; Attitudes; Stigma
The efficacy of screening and brief intervention (SBI) for drug use in primary care patients is largely unknown. Because of this lack of evidence, US professional organizations do not recommend it. Yet, a strong theoretical case can be made for drug SBI. Drug use is common and associated with numerous health consequences, patients usually do not seek help for drug abuse and dependence, and SBI has proven efficacy for unhealthy alcohol use. On the other hand, the diversity of drugs of abuse and the high prevalence of abuse and dependence among those who use them raise concerns that drug SBI may have limited or no efficacy. Federal efforts to disseminate SBI for drug use are underway, and reimbursement codes to compensate clinicians for these activities have been developed. However, the discrepancies between science and policy developments underscore the need for evidence-based research regarding the efficacy of SBI for drug use. This article discusses the rationale for drug SBI and existing research on its potential to improve drug-use outcomes and makes the argument that randomized controlled trials to determine its efficacy are urgently needed to bridge the gap between research, policy, and clinical practice.
addiction; drug use; primary care; drug screening; brief intervention
The course of alcohol consumption and cognitive dimensions of behavior change (readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change) in primary care patients are not well described. The objective of the study was to determine changes in readiness, importance and confidence after a primary care visit, and 6-month improvements in both drinking and cognitive dimensions of behavior change, in patients with unhealthy alcohol use.
Prospective cohort study of patients with unhealthy alcohol use visiting primary care physicians, with repeated assessments of readiness, importance, and confidence (visual analogue scale (VAS), score range 1–10 points). Improvements 6 months later were defined as no unhealthy alcohol use or any increase in readiness, importance, or confidence. Regression models accounted for clustering by physician and adjusted for demographics, alcohol consumption and related problems, and discussion with the physician about alcohol.
From before to immediately after the primary care physician visit, patients (n = 173) had increases in readiness (mean +1.0 point), importance (+0.2), and confidence (+0.5) (all p < 0.002). In adjusted models, discussion with the physician about alcohol was associated with increased readiness (+0.8, p = 0.04). At 6 months, many participants had improvements in drinking or readiness (62%), drinking or importance (58%), or drinking or confidence (56%).
Readiness, importance and confidence improve in many patients with unhealthy alcohol use immediately after a primary care visit. Six months after a visit, most patients have improvements in either drinking or these cognitive dimensions of behavior change.
This article discusses the successful process used to assess the feasibility of implementing the Family Matters program in Bangkok, Thailand. This is important work since adopting and adapting evidence based programs is a strategy currently endorsed by leading prevention funding sources, particularly in the United States. The original Family Matters (Bauman 2001) consists of four booklets designed to increase parental communication with their adolescent children in order to delay onset of or decrease alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. As part of the program, health educators contact parents by telephone to support them in the adoption of the program. Each booklet addresses a key aspect of strengthening families as well as protecting young people from unhealthy behaviors related to alcohol and other drug use. Adaptation of the program for Bangkok focused on cultural relevance and the addition of a unit targeting adolescent dating and sexual behavior. One hundred and seventy families entered the program, with the majority (85.3%) completing all five booklets. On average, the program took 16 weeks to complete, with families reporting high satisfaction with the program. This article provides greater detail about the implementation process and what was learned from this feasibility trial.
Several World Health Organisation reports over recent years have highlighted the high incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer. Contributory factors include unhealthy diets, alcohol and tobacco use and sedentary lifestyles. This paper reports the findings of a review of reviews of behavioural change interventions to reduce unhealthy behaviours or promote healthy behaviours. We included six different health-related behaviours in the review: healthy eating, physical exercise, smoking, alcohol misuse, sexual risk taking (in young people) and illicit drug use. We excluded reviews which focussed on pharmacological treatments or those which required intensive treatments (e.g. for drug or alcohol dependency).
The Cochrane Library, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) and several Ovid databases were searched for systematic reviews of interventions for the six behaviours (updated search 2008). Two reviewers applied the inclusion criteria, extracted data and assessed the quality of the reviews. The results were discussed in a narrative synthesis.
We included 103 reviews published between 1995 and 2008. The focus of interventions varied, but those targeting specific individuals were generally designed to change an existing behaviour (e.g. cigarette smoking, alcohol misuse), whilst those aimed at the general population or groups such as school children were designed to promote positive behaviours (e.g. healthy eating). Almost 50% (n = 48) of the reviews focussed on smoking (either prevention or cessation). Interventions that were most effective across a range of health behaviours included physician advice or individual counselling, and workplace- and school-based activities. Mass media campaigns and legislative interventions also showed small to moderate effects in changing health behaviours.
Generally, the evidence related to short-term effects rather than sustained/longer-term impact and there was a relative lack of evidence on how best to address inequalities.
Despite limitations of the review of reviews approach, it is encouraging that there are interventions that are effective in achieving behavioural change. Further emphasis in both primary studies and secondary analysis (e.g. systematic reviews) should be placed on assessing the differential effectiveness of interventions across different population subgroups to ensure that health inequalities are addressed.
Patients’ unhealthy alcohol use is often undetected in primary care. Our objective was to examine whether physicians’ attitudes and their perceived self-efficacy for screening and counseling patients is associated with physicians’ counseling of patients with unhealthy alcohol use, and patients’ subsequent drinking.
This study is a prospective cohort study (nested within a randomized trial) involving 41 primary care physicians and 301 of their patients, all of whom had unhealthy alcohol use. Independent variables were physicians’ attitudes toward unhealthy substance use and self-efficacy for screening and counseling. Outcomes were patients’ reports of physicians’ counseling about unhealthy alcohol use immediately after a physician visit, and patients’ drinking six months later.
Neither physicians’ attitudes nor self-efficacy had any impact on physicians’ counseling, but greater perceived self-efficacy in screening, assessing and intervening with patients was associated with more drinking by patients six months later.
Future research needs to further explore the relationship between physicians’ attitudes towards unhealthy alcohol use, their self-efficacy for screening and counseling and patients’ drinking outcomes, given our unexpected findings.
Self-efficacy; Attitudes; Screening; Counseling; Physicians; Unhealthy alcohol use
Unhealthy alcohol use predisposes to multiple conditions that frequently result in critical illness and is present in up to one-third of patients admitted to a medical intensive care unit (ICU). We sought to determine the baseline readiness to change in medical ICU patients with unhealthy alcohol use and hypothesized that the severity of acute illness would be independently associated with higher scores on readiness to change scales. We further sought to determine whether this effect is modified by the severity of unhealthy alcohol use.
Materials and Methods
We performed a cross-sectional observational study of current regular drinkers in three medical ICUs. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test was used to differentiate low risk and unhealthy alcohol use and further categorize patients into risky alcohol use or an alcohol use disorder. The severity of a patient’s acute illness was assessed by calculating the Acute Physiology and Chronic Healthy Evaluation II score at the time of admission to the medical ICU. Readiness to change was assessed using standardized questionnaires.
Of 101 medical ICU patients who were enrolled, 65 met the criteria for unhealthy alcohol use. The association between the severity of acute illness and readiness to change depended on the instrument used. A higher severity of illness measured by APACHEII score was an independent predictor of readiness to change as assessed by the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (Taking Action scale) (p< 0.01). When a visual analog scale was used to assess readiness to change, there was a significant association with severity of acute illness (p < 0.01) that was modified by the severity of unhealthy alcohol use (p = 0.04 for interaction term).
Medical ICU patients represent a population where brief interventions require further study. Studies of brief intervention should account for the severity of acute illness and the severity of unhealthy alcohol use as potential effect modifiers.
There is increasing emphasis on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital, as highlighted by new Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT. However, the evidence supporting this approach is not as robust relative to primary care settings. This review is targeted to hospital-based clinicians and administrators who are responsible for generally ensuring the provision of high quality care to patients presenting with a myriad of conditions, one of which is unhealthy alcohol use. The review summarizes the major issues involved in caring for patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital setting, including prevalence, detection, assessment of severity, reduction in drinking with brief intervention, common acute management scenarios for heavy drinkers, and discharge planning. The review concludes with consideration of Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT for unhealthy alcohol use, integration of these recommendations into hospital work flows, and directions for future research.
Alcohol drinking; Alcoholism; Hospitalization; Patient discharge
The objective of this study was to estimate the influence of substance use on the quality of patient-provider communication during HIV clinic encounters. Patients were surveyed about unhealthy alcohol and illicit drug use and rated provider communication quality. Audio-recorded encounters were coded for specific communication behaviors. Patients with vs. without unhealthy alcohol use rated the quality of their provider’s communication lower; illicit drug user ratings were comparable to nonusers. Visit length was shorter, with fewer activating/engaging and psychosocial counseling statements for those with vs. without unhealthy alcohol use. Providers and patients exhibited favorable communication behaviors in encounters with illicit drug users vs. non-users, demonstrating greater evidence of patient-provider engagement. The quality of patient-provider communication was worse for HIV-infected patients with unhealthy alcohol use but similar or better for illicit drug users compared with non-users. Interventions should be developed that encourage providers to actively engage patients with unhealthy alcohol use.
Alcoholism; Substance-related disorders; Communication; HIV; Quality of health care; Patient satisfaction
Some primary care physicians do not conduct alcohol screening because they assume their patients do not want to discuss alcohol use.
To assess whether (1) alcohol counseling can improve patient-perceived quality of primary care, and (2) higher quality of primary care is associated with subsequent decreased alcohol consumption.
A prospective cohort study.
Two hundred eighty-eight patients in an academic primary care practice who had unhealthy alcohol use.
The primary outcome was quality of care received [measured with the communication, whole-person knowledge, and trust scales of the Primary Care Assessment Survey (PCAS)]. The secondary outcome was drinking risky amounts in the past 30 days (measured with the Timeline Followback method).
Alcohol counseling was significantly associated with higher quality of primary care in the areas of communication (adjusted mean PCAS scale scores: 85 vs. 76) and whole-person knowledge (67 vs. 59). The quality of primary care was not associated with drinking risky amounts 6 months later.
Although quality of primary care may not necessarily affect drinking, brief counseling for unhealthy alcohol use may enhance the quality of primary care.
alcohol; counseling; brief intervention; quality of primary care
Unhealthy alcohol use is prevalent but under-diagnosed in primary care settings.
To validate, in primary care, a single-item screening test for unhealthy alcohol use recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Adult English-speaking patients recruited from primary care waiting rooms.
Participants were asked the single screening question, “How many times in the past year have you had X or more drinks in a day?”, where X is 5 for men and 4 for women, and a response of >1 is considered positive. Unhealthy alcohol use was defined as the presence of an alcohol use disorder, as determined by a standardized diagnostic interview, or risky consumption, as determined using a validated 30-day calendar method.
Of 394 eligible primary care patients, 286 (73%) completed the interview. The single-question screen was 81.8% sensitive (95% confidence interval (CI) 72.5% to 88.5%) and 79.3% specific (95% CI 73.1% to 84.4%) for the detection of unhealthy alcohol use. It was slightly more sensitive (87.9%, 95% CI 72.7% to 95.2%) but was less specific (66.8%, 95% CI 60.8% to 72.3%) for the detection of a current alcohol use disorder. Test characteristics were similar to that of a commonly used three-item screen, and were affected very little by subject demographic characteristics.
The single screening question recommended by the NIAAA accurately identified unhealthy alcohol use in this sample of primary care patients. These findings support the use of this brief screen in primary care.
alcohol screening test; alcoholics; primary care validation; NIAAA
There are socioeconomic disparities in the likelihood of adopting unhealthy behaviours, and success at giving them up. This may be in part because people living in deprived areas are exposed to greater rates of unhealthy behaviour amongst those living around them. Conventional self-report surveys do not capture these differences in exposure, and more ethological methods are required in order to do so.
We performed 12 hours of direct behavioural observation in the streets of two neighbourhoods of the same city which were similar in most regards, except that one was much more socioeconomically deprived than the other. There were large differences in the publicly visible health behaviours observed. In the deprived neighbourhood, we observed 266 more adults smoking (rate ratio 3.44), 53 more adults drinking alcohol (rate ratio not calculable), and 38 fewer adults running (rate ratio 0.23), than in the affluent neighbourhood. We used data from the Health Survey for England to calculate the differences we ought to expect to have seen given the individual-level socioeconomic characteristics of the residents. The observed disparities between the two neighbourhoods were considerably greater than this null model predicted. There were also different patterns of smoking in proximity to children in the two neighbourhoods.
The differences in observed smoking, drinking alcohol, and physical activity between these two neighbourhoods of the same city are strikingly large, and for smoking and running, their magnitude suggests substantial area effects above and beyond the compositional differences between the neighbourhoods. Because of these differences, individuals residing in deprived areas are exposed to substantially more smoking and public drinking, and less physical activity, as they go about their daily lives, than their affluent peers. This may have important implications for the initiation and maintenance of health behaviours, and the persistence of health inequalities.
Professional organizations recommend screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use; however, brief intervention has established efficacy only for people without alcohol dependence. Whether many medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use have nondependent use, and thus might benefit from brief intervention, is unknown.
To determine the prevalence and spectrum of unhealthy alcohol use in medical inpatients.
Interviews of medical inpatients (March 2001 to June 2003).
Adult medical inpatients (5,813) in an urban teaching hospital.
Proportion drinking risky amounts in the past month (defined by national standards); proportion drinking risky amounts with a current alcohol diagnosis (determined by diagnostic interview).
Seventeen percent (986) were drinking risky amounts; 97% exceeded per occasion limits. Most scored ≥8 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, strongly correlating with alcohol diagnoses. Most of a subsample of subjects who drank risky amounts and received further evaluation had dependence (77%).
Drinking risky amounts was common in medical inpatients. Most drinkers of risky amounts had dependence, not the broad spectrum of unhealthy alcohol use anticipated. Screening on a medicine service largely identifies patients with dependence—a group for whom the efficacy of brief intervention (a recommended practice) is not well established.
hospital; inpatient; alcohol; screening; brief intervention
Homelessness affects many people in contemporary society with consequences for individuals and the wider community. Homeless people experience poorer levels of general physical and mental health than the general population and there is a substantial international evidence base which documents multiple morbidity. Despite this, they often have problems in obtaining suitable health care.
To critically examine the international literature pertaining to the health care of homeless people and discuss the effectiveness of treatment interventions.
Design of study
Review and synthesis of current evidence.
Medline (1966–2003), EMBASE (1980–2003), PsycINFO (1985–2003), CINAHL (1982–2003), Web of Science (1981–2003) and the Cochrane Library (Evidence Based Health) databases were reviewed using key terms relating to homelessness, intervention studies, drug misuse, alcohol misuse and mental health. The review was not limited to publications in English. It included searching the internet using key terms, and grey literature was also accessed through discussion with experts.
Internationally, there are differing models and services aimed at providing health care for homeless people. Effective interventions for drug dependence include adequate oral opiate maintenance therapy, hepatitis A, B and tetanus immunisation, safer injecting advice and access to needle exchange programmes. There is emerging evidence for the effectiveness of supervised injecting rooms for homeless injecting drug users and for the peer distribution of take home naloxone in reducing drug-related deaths. There is some evidence that assertive outreach programmes for those with mental ill health, supportive programmes to aid those with motivation to address alcohol dependence and informal programmes to promote sexual health can lead to lasting health gain.
As multiple morbidity is common among homeless people, accessible and available primary health care is a pre-requisite for effective health interventions. This requires addressing barriers to provision and multi-agency working so that homeless people can access the full range of health and social care services. There are examples of best practice in the treatment and retention of homeless people in health and social care and such models can inform future provision.
alcoholism; health care delivery; homeless persons; mental health; primary care; substance related disorders
In order to differentiate the neurotic patient who both needs and responds to psychiatric care from the majority of neurotic patients, who do not need this, carefully matched pairs of neurotic patients being treated at psychiatric and nonpsychiatric clinics in Montreal were followed up for 1 year. Improvement was substantial regardless of treatment, and the psychiatrically treated, on the whole, improved only slightly more than the others. However, one type of patient improved greatly under psychiatric care while improving almost not at all without it--introverts who considered themselves unhealthy but found life manageable, had avoided taking time off work or using anxiolytic drugs and appeared to handle their frustrations without repressing their irritation or losing self-control. It is suggested that it is mainly this type of neurotic that should receive specialist referral.
Prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use among medical inpatients is high.
To characterize the course and outcomes of unhealthy alcohol use, and factors associated with these outcomes.
Prospective cohort study.
A total of 287 medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use.
At baseline and 12 months later, consumption and alcohol-related consequences were assessed. The outcome of interest was a favorable drinking outcome at 12 months (abstinence or drinking “moderate” amounts without consequences). The independent variables evaluated included demographics, physical/sexual abuse, drug use, depressive symptoms, alcohol dependence, commitment to change (Taking Action), spending time with heavy-drinking friends and receipt of alcohol treatment (after hospitalization). Adjusted regression models were used to evaluate factors associated with a favorable outcome.
Thirty-three percent had a favorable drinking outcome 1 year later. Not spending time with heavy-drinking friends [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.14, 95% CI: 1.14–4.00] and receipt of alcohol treatment [AOR (95% CI): 2.16(1.20–3.87)] were associated with a favorable outcome. Compared to the first quartile (lowest level) of Taking Action, subjects in the second, third and highest quartiles had higher odds of a favorable outcome [AOR (95% CI): 3.65 (1.47, 9.02), 3.39 (1.38, 8.31) and 6.76 (2.74, 16.67)].
Although most medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use continue drinking at-risk amounts and/or have alcohol-related consequences, one third are abstinent or drink “moderate” amounts without consequences 1 year later. Not spending time with heavy-drinking friends, receipt of alcohol treatment and commitment to change are associated with this favorable outcome. This can inform efforts to address unhealthy alcohol use among patients who often do not seek specialty treatment.
unhealthy alcohol use; medical inpatients; factors associated with drinking and consequences
The %carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT) test offers objective evidence of unhealthy alcohol use but its cost-effectiveness in primary care conditions is unknown.
Using a decision tree and Markov model, we performed a literature-based cost-effectiveness analysis of 4 strategies for detecting unhealthy alcohol use in adult primary care patients: (i) Questionnaire Only, using a validated 3-item alcohol questionnaire; (ii) %CDT Only; (iii) Questionnaire followed by %CDT (Questionnaire-%CDT) if the questionnaire is negative; and (iv) No Screening. For those patients screening positive, clinicians performed more detailed assessment to characterize unhealthy use and determine therapy. We estimated costs using Medicare reimbursement and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We determined sensitivity, specificity, prevalence of disease, and mortality from the medical literature. In the base case, we calculated the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in 2006 dollars per quality-adjusted life year ($/QALY) for a 50-year-old cohort.
In the base case, the ICER for the Questionnaire-%CDT strategy was $15,500/QALY compared with the Questionnaire Only strategy. Other strategies were dominated. When the prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use exceeded 15% and screening age was <60 years, the Questionnaire-%CDT strategy costs less than $50,000/QALY compared to the Questionnaire Only strategy.
Adding %CDT to questionnaire-based screening for unhealthy alcohol use was cost-effective in our literature-based decision analytic model set in typical primary care conditions. Screening with %CDT should be considered for adults up to the age of 60 when the prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use is 15% or more and screening questionnaires are negative.
Carbohydrate Deficient Transferring; Alcohol Use; Primary Care
Cigarette smoking and unhealthy alcohol use are common causes of preventable morbidity and mortality that frequently result in admission to an intensive care unit. Understanding how to identify and intervene in these conditions is important because critical illness may provide a “teachable moment.” Furthermore, the Joint Commission recently proposed screening and receipt of an intervention for tobacco use and unhealthy alcohol use as candidate performance measures for all hospitalized patients. Understanding the efficacy of these interventions may help drive evidence-based institution of programs, if deemed appropriate.
A summary of the published medical literature on interventions for unhealthy alcohol use and smoking obtained through a PubMed search.
Interventions focusing on behavioral counseling for cigarette smoking in hospitalized patients have been extensively studied. Several studies include or focus on critically ill patients. The evidence demonstrates that behavioral counseling leads to increased rates of smoking cessation but the effect depends on the intensity of the intervention. The identification of unhealthy alcohol use can lead to brief interventions. These interventions are particularly effective in trauma patients with unhealthy alcohol use. However, the current literature would not support routine delivery of brief interventions for unhealthy alcohol use in the medical ICU population.
ICU admission represents a “teachable moment” for smokers and some patients with unhealthy alcohol use. Future studies should assess the efficacy of brief interventions for unhealthy alcohol use in medical ICU patients. In addition, identification of the timing and optimal individual to conduct the intervention will be necessary.
The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service for unhealthy alcohol use has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective medical preventive services and has been associated with long-term reductions in alcohol use and health care utilization. Recent studies also indicate that SBIRT reduces illicit drug use. In 2008 and 2009, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration funded 17 grantees to develop and implement medical residency training programs that teach residents how to provide SBIRT services for individuals with alcohol and drug misuse conditions. This paper presents the curricular activities associated with this initiative.
We used an online survey delivery application (Qualtrics) to e-mail a survey instrument developed by the project directors of 4 SBIRT residency programs to each residency grantee's director. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative data.
All 17 (100%) grantees responded. Respondents encompassed residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, surgery, and preventive medicine. Thirteen of 17 (76%) grantee programs used both online and in-person approaches to deliver the curriculum. All 17 grantees incorporated motivational interviewing and validated screening instruments in the curriculum. As of June 2011, 2867 residents had been trained, and project directors reported all residents were incorporating SBIRT into their practices. Consistently mentioned challenges in implementing an SBIRT curriculum included finding time in residents' schedules for the modules and the need for trained faculty to verify resident competence.
The SBIRT initiative has resulted in rapid development of educational programs and a cohort of residents who utilize SBIRT in practice. Skills verification, program dissemination, and sustainability after grant funding ends remain ongoing challenges.
The Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES), a 19-item instrument developed to assess readiness to change alcohol use among individuals presenting for specialized alcohol treatment, has been used in various populations and settings. Its factor structure and concurrent validity has been described for specialized alcohol treatment settings and primary care. The purpose of this study was to determine the factor structure and concurrent validity of the SOCRATES among medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use not seeking help for specialized alcohol treatment. The subjects were 337 medical inpatients with unhealthy alcohol use, identified during their hospital stay. Most of them had alcohol dependence (76%). We performed an Alpha Factor Analysis (AFA) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the 19 SOCRATES items, and forced 3 factors and 2 components, in order to replicate findings from Miller & Tonigan (1996) and Maisto et al (1999). Our analysis supported the view that the 2 component solution proposed by Maisto et al (1999) is more appropriate for our data than the 3 factor solution proposed by Miller & Tonigan (1996). The first component measured Perception of Problems and was more strongly correlated with severity of alcohol related consequences, presence of alcohol dependence, and alcohol consumption levels (average number of drinks per day and total number of binge drinking days over the past 30 days)compared to the second component measuring Taking Action. Our findings support the view that the SOCRATES is comprised of two important readiness constructs in general medical patients identified by screening
Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale; factor structure; medical inpatients; unhealthy alcohol use
Although screening and brief intervention (BI) in the primary-care setting reduces unhealthy alcohol use, its efficacy among patients with dependence has not been established. This systematic review sought to determine whether evidence exists for BI efficacy among patients with alcohol dependence identified by screening in primary-care settings.
We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) extracted from eight systematic reviews and electronic-database searches published through September 2009. These RCTs compared outcomes among adults with unhealthy alcohol use identified by screening who received BI in a primary-care setting with those who received no intervention.
Sixteen RCTs including 6839 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 14 excluded some or all persons with very heavy alcohol use or dependence; one in which 35% of 175 patients had dependence found no difference in an alcohol severity score between groups; and one in which 58% of 24 female patients had dependence showed no efficacy.
Conclusion and Implications
Alcohol screening and BI has efficacy in primary care for patients with unhealthy alcohol use but, there is no evidence for efficacy among those with very heavy use or dependence. Since alcohol screening identifies both dependent and non-dependent unhealthy use, the absence of evidence for the efficacy of BI among primary-care patients with screening-identified alcohol dependence raises questions regarding the efficiency of screening and BI, particularly in settings where dependence is common. The finding also highlights the need to develop new approaches to help such patients, particularly if screening and BI are to be disseminated widely.
alcohol; alcohol dependence; primary care; brief intervention; systematic review
To analyze alcohol use, clinical data and laboratory parameters that may affect FIB-4, an index for measuring liver fibrosis, in HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV-coinfected drug users.
Patients and Methods
Patients admitted for substance abuse treatment between 1994 and 2006 were studied. Socio-demographic data, alcohol and drug use characteristics and clinical variables were obtained through hospital records. Blood samples for biochemistry, liver function tests, CD4 cell count, and serology of HIV and HCV infection were collected at admission. Multivariate linear regression was used to analyze the predictors of FIB-4 increase.
A total of 472 (83% M, 17% F) patients were eligible. The median age at admission was 31 years (Interquartile range (IQR) 27–35 years), and the median duration of drug use was 10 years (IQR 5.5–15 years). Unhealthy drinking (>50 grams/day) was reported in 32% of the patients. The FIB-4 scores were significantly greater in the HCV/HIV-coinfected patients (1.14, IQR 0.76–1.87) than in the HCV-monoinfected patients (0.75, IQR 0.56–1.11) (p<0.001). In the multivariate analysis, unhealthy drinking (p = 0.034), lower total cholesterol (p = 0.042), serum albumin (p<0.001), higher GGT (p<0.001) and a longer duration of addiction (p = 0.005) were independently associated with higher FIB-4 scores in the HCV-monoinfected drug users. The effect of unhealthy drinking on FIB-4 scores disappeared in the HCV/HIV-coinfected patients, whereas lower serum albumin (p<0.001), a lower CD4 cell count (p = 0.006), higher total bilirubin (p<0.001) and a longer drug addiction duration (p<0.001) were significantly associated with higher FIB-4 values.
Unhealthy alcohol use in the HCV-monoinfected patients and HIV-related immunodeficiency in the HCV/HIV-coinfected patients are important risk factors associated with liver fibrosis in the respective populations
Unhealthy alcohol use includes the spectrum of alcohol consumption from risky drinking to alcohol use disorders. Routine alcohol screening, brief intervention (BI) and referral to treatment (RT) are commonly endorsed for improving the identification and management of unhealthy alcohol use in outpatient settings. However, factors which might impact screening, BI, and RT implementation in inpatient settings, particularly if delivered by nurses, are unknown, and must be identified to effectively plan randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of nurse-delivered BI. The purpose of this study was to identify the potential barriers and facilitators associated with nurse-delivered alcohol screening, BI and RT for hospitalized patients.
We conducted audio-recorded focus groups with nurses from three medical-surgical units at a large urban Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Transcripts were analyzed using modified grounded theory techniques to identify key themes regarding anticipated barriers and facilitators to nurse-delivered screening, BI and RT in the inpatient setting.
A total of 33 medical-surgical nurses (97% female, 83% white) participated in one of seven focus groups. Nurses consistently anticipated the following barriers to nurse-delivered screening, BI, and RT for hospitalized patients: (1) lack of alcohol-related knowledge and skills; (2) limited interdisciplinary collaboration and communication around alcohol-related care; (3) inadequate alcohol assessment protocols and poor integration with the electronic medical record; (4) concerns about negative patient reaction and limited patient motivation to address alcohol use; (5) questionable compatibility of screening, BI and RT with the acute care paradigm and nursing role; and (6) logistical issues (e.g., lack of time/privacy). Suggested facilitators of nurse-delivered screening, BI, and RT focused on provider- and system-level factors related to: (1) improved provider knowledge, skills, communication, and collaboration; (2) expanded processes of care and nursing roles; and (3) enhanced electronic medical record features.
RCTs of nurse-delivered alcohol BI for hospitalized patients should include consideration of the following elements: comprehensive provider education on alcohol screening, BI and RT; record-keeping systems which efficiently document and plan alcohol-related care; a hybrid model of implementation featuring active roles for interdisciplinary generalists and specialists; and ongoing partnerships to facilitate generation of additional evidence for BI efficacy in hospitalized patients.
Alcohol consumption; Alcoholism; Inpatients; Nursing; Nurses; Implementation; Screening; Counseling; Qualitative research; Focus groups
Military personnel engage in unhealthy alcohol use at rates higher than their same age, civilian peers, resulting in negative consequences for the individual and jeopardized force readiness for the armed services. Among those returning from combat deployment, unhealthy drinking may be exacerbated by acute stress reactions and injury, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). Combat-acquired TBI is common among personnel in the current conflicts. Although research suggests that impairments due to TBI leads to an increased risk for unhealthy drinking and consequences among civilians, there has been little research to examine whether TBI influences drinking behaviors among military personnel. This article examines TBI and drinking in both civilian and military populations and discusses implications for clinical care and policy.
traumatic brain injury; alcohol use; combat-acquired injury; military deployment
In recent decades, there has been a dramatic increase in unhealthy weight for both children and adults. The Canadian standard of living has changed in favour of more easily prepared, calorie-dense foods and sedentary practices. Many family characteristics have also changed over the past 50 years. More Canadian families are living in disadvantaged situations, forecasting a host of unhealthy behaviours and attitudes in adults. The poor are not only getting poorer, they are also becoming heavier. Children from disadvantaged families seem to be leading the trend in increasing prevalence of unhealthy weight. Because they live in neighbourhoods that are perceived as unsafe, these children are likely spending more time indoors. This is associated with watching more television, which not only displaces other forms of educational and active entertainment but also places them at risk of learning inaccurate information about proper eating. Social science research helps identify factors contributing most to the rise in excess weight within this population, thus providing essential clues for effective approaches to its eradication.
Adiposity; Child obesity; Overweight; Poverty; Unhealthy weight