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Home > Brief interventions for heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards.

McQueen, Jean and Howe, Tracy E and Allan, Linda and Mains, Diane (2011) Brief interventions for heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (8), . Art. No.: CD005191. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005191.pub3.

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To determine whether brief interventions reduce alcohol consumption and improve outcomes for heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital inpatient units.

Do brief interventions with heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards:
1. Impact on alcohol consumption levels?
2. Improve quality of life and ability to function in society i.e. social relationships, employment, education?
3. Lead to a reduction in hospital re-admission rates, and or alcohol related injuries i.e. falls, violence, suicide and motor vehicle accidents?

Fourteen studies involving 4041 mainly male participants were included. Our results demonstrate that patients receiving brief interventions have a greater reduction in alcohol consumption compared to those in control groups at six month, MD -69.43 (95% CI -128.14 to -10.72) and nine months follow up, MD -182.88 (95% CI -360.00 to -5.76) but this is not maintained at one year. Self reports of reduction of alcohol consumption at 1 year were found in favour of brief interventions, SMD -0.26 (95% CI -0.50 to -0.03). In addition there were significantly fewer deaths in the groups receiving brief interventions than in control groups at 6 months, RR 0.42 (95% CI 0.19 to 0.94) and one year follow up, RR 0.60 (95% CI 0.40 to 0.91). Furthermore screening, asking participants about their drinking patterns, may also have a positive impact on alcohol consumption levels and changes in drinking behaviour.

The main results of this review indicate that there are benefits to delivering brief interventions to heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards in terms of reduction in alcohol consumption and death rates. However, these findings are based on studies involving mainly male participants. Further research is required determine the optimal content and treatment exposure of brief interventions within general hospital settings and whether they are likely to be more successful in patients with certain characteristics.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Review, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Psychosocial treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
August 2011
Identification #
Art. No.: CD005191. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005191.pub3
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
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