New ‘Alcohol Awareness’ Training for Emergency Department Staff


Alcohol Awareness Launch at CUH

A new training resource for Emergency Department (ED) staff around the issue of alcohol use and abuse will be launched today (5th June 2008) in Cork University Hospital.

‘Alcohol and the Emergency Department – making the difference’ is a new training resource for Emergency Department staff and the first of its kind to be developed in Ireland.   Developed by the HSE South's Emergency Department, Liaison Psychiatry and Health Promotion staff, the training DVD and associated posters and booklet were produced to encourage CUH's ED staff to safely and supportively raise the issue of alcohol use with patients admitted to the Emergency Department with alcohol related injury / illness.

Alcohol use and abuse has a significant impact on Emergency Departments throughout Ireland with alcohol related hospital admissions increasing by 88% between 1995 and 2004.  A report from the Health Research Board showed that alcohol consumption in the Irish population has increased by 17% over the past 11 years, from 11.5 litres per adult in 1995 to 13.4 litres in 2006; well above the EU average.  This rise in consumption has led to increases in alcohol related harm and disease, putting increasing pressure on health and hospital services. 

Paula Bradshaw, Clinical Nurse Manager (CNM) 2, CUH Emergency Department said, “An average of 28% of the visits to hospital accident and emergency units are alcohol related.  This training resource will help equip staff working in Emergency Departments to support people in an appropriate manner around the issue of alcohol use and abuse.  ED staff have a unique opportunity to help someone when they are being cared for in the Department and this DVD provides staff with the skills and confidence to broach the issue of alcohol use in an appropriate, compassionate and professional manner”.

The short DVD outlines several approaches staff can use when raising the issue of alcohol with patients. It also gives an overview on the impact of alcohol misuse, highlights the challenges faced by health professionals, and outlines some methods to overcome these challenges. “It is well documented that those being treated in hospital are more likely to change their drinking patterns if encouraged by a health professional.  However, it is critical that the issue is broached at the right time and in the right way; this new dvd encourages and enables ED staff to do that”, concluded Ms Bradshaw.

The associated posters will be used to display in the Emergency Department and explain what a standard drink is and the number of units allowed per week. The alcohol pocket booklet, which was initiated by ED staff, acts as a support to help raise the issue of alcohol in a safe non-threatening way and provides information on safe drinking levels as well as additional information on services for further support.

The National Health information Line - 1850 24 1850 - opening hours 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Saturday) is listed as one point of contact to signpost to the appropriate local service required in accessing further support, help and advice.

Last updated on: 06 / 06 / 2008