Dr Katy Jones (PhD, BA Hons) is an Assistant Professor in Applied Psychology in the School of Medicine (Institute of Mental Health) at the University of Nottingham (UK). She has over 15 years’ experience understanding addictive behaviour, impulse control, and decision-making across a number of clinical settings, and across the lifespan. Research approaches include mixed methods, applied clinical health research, systematic review, and meta-analysis. She is currently involved in the development and feasibility of appropriate intervention for people who have problems with alcohol and cannabis and understanding the psychological aspects of recovery. She has expertise teaching and assessing behavioural sciences and communication skills in medicine and is passionate about patient-centred care and reduction of stigma in the field of addiction.
We need to know more about treatment for older people who need help with alcohol. A scoping review of alcohol treatment literature for people aged 55 or over in the United Kingdom (UK)
Aims: This scoping review aimed to assess whether current UK alcohol treatment services are addressing the needs of older people (defined here as 55+ years) through synthesising previous literature regarding the provision of alcohol treatment services and interventions, their characteristics, and those of people accessing them, to develop recommendations for research and practice.
Design: Studies (all designs) were included if they examined alcohol treatment services provided to older people (or those providing data on a wider age range if there was a specific reference to older people), were written in English and conducted in the UK. Structured searches using keywords such as ‘alcohol’, ‘problem’, ‘treatment’, ‘older people’, ‘UK’ were conducted on five databases. Correspondence with experts was sought. Study quality was assessed using appropriate JBI checklists.
Findings and conclusions: Thirteen articles were included (six qualitative, one mixed-methods, two opinion pieces, one case-control, two randomised controlled trials, and a systematic review, publication date range: 1982-2018). The average article met 66% JBI checklist criteria (range 27.3-100%). Three overall themes were identified: There are barriers to accessing alcohol treatment for older people; Delivery of alcohol services could be tailored for older people; Efficacy of age-specific alcohol treatment is not known. Alcohol is increasingly recognised as an urgent and significant health issue for older people, yet UK alcohol treatment provision is not currently designed to consider specific age-specific requirements and an age-blind approach may not be adequate to meet the needs of this population.