Aims: To investigate whether brief interventions (BIs) delivered by a dedicated Alcohol Specialist Nurse (ASN) to non-treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent patients in an acute hospital setting are effective in reducing alcohol consumption and dependence.
Methods: A prospective cohort control study in two acute NHS Hospital Trusts in the North West England, one of which provided BI (university teaching hospital-test site) while the other did not (district general hospital-control site), including follow-up BIs. Subjects were alcohol-dependent patients aged ≥18 years.
Results: A total of 100 patients were recruited at each site. No differences were found between the groups in the baseline demographic parameters or medical co-morbidities. At the test site, further sessions were sometimes offered, and 46 patients received more than one intervention (median 4, mean 6.3 and maximum 20). At 6 months, alcohol consumption (P < 0.0001), Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tool (AUDIT) score (P < 0.0001) and Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire score (P = 0.0001) were significantly lower at the test site than the control site. Outcomes were found to be independent of both the baseline level of dependence and medical co-morbidity.
Conclusion: BI delivered by a dedicated ASN for non-treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent individuals, who often have significant medical co-morbidities, seem to be effective in an acute hospital setting. This study provides a framework to inform the design of a future randomized controlled trial.