The profile of risky single occasion drinkers presenting at an emergency department
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In 2010/2011, there were over 21 million attendances at English Emergency Departments (EDs), of which 35% are estimated to be alcohol-related. Screening in EDs could have considerable impact in identifying alcohol use disorders and directing people to appropriate interventions. We aimed to describe the screening and profile of risky single occasion drinkers (RSOD) in Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust ED. Routine admissions data and alcohol screening responses for each patient aged 18 years and over were accessed from the ED information system (EDIS) for a period of 12 months. Of the 99,728 presentations at ED, 55,564 (55.72%) were screened and, of these, 8131 (16.81%) screened positive for RSOD. Compared with those who screened negative, they were 2.63 times more likely to present with injuries. However, the majority (N = 5389, 66.28%) said their current presentation was not related to alcohol consumption. Of those who screened RSOD positive only 1.75% accepted a referral for advice; the majority (85.29%) accepted an information leaflet. Improvements to the screening process are suggested, including potentially targeting screening, using an assessment that may in itself have an impact on drinking outcomes, and improving the relevance of leaflets and brief interventions to specific subgroups of patients.© 2013 Informa UK Ltd.