Patient engagement and follow up after specialist in-patient alcohol detoxification in Scotland

First published: 10/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Aims:

There is limited data relating to patient engagement and outcomes following specialist in-patient alcohol detoxification. Research is challenging, since patients often disengage with services and relapse rates are high.  This survey aimed to establish baseline immediate follow up data to inform a proposed Scottish, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of a relapse prevention medication.

Method:

Over a six week period, a cohort of admissions for alcohol detoxification to the Ritson Clinic (specialist in-patient addictions unit) were provided with information about the study and asked for consent to follow up. To obtain measures of patient engagement and short-term outcomes, the cohort was followed up at 2, 4 and 6 weeks post discharge. Trainees telephoned patients directly (self-report) and an account of patient progress was also obtained via keyworkers.

Results:

27 men and 8 women (> 18 years) who met SIGN 74 criteria for in-patient detoxification were studied. All but one wished abstinence at 6 weeks, and 29 consented to phone follow-up. 13 were discharged on disulfiram, 12 on acamprosate and 6 on baclofen. Cumulative abstinence and time to first drink were charted at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. 11 patients were totally abstinent at 6 weeks. Time to first heavy drinking, and number of heavy drinking sessions were less reliably obtained.

Conclusions:

This study describes follow-up and immediate outcomes of treatment as usual following specialist in-patient alcohol detoxification. It will inform the proposed relapse prevention medication trial grant application, and set the stage for an ongoing database of outcomes and variables.

Co-Authors

Ratcliffe, L, MacKenzie Medical Centre; Petrie R X A, Royal Edinburgh Hospital; Lawrence, R, Royal Edinburgh Hospital

No conflicts of interest declared.

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Dr Rebecca Lawrence