Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 174-179

Emergency physician screening and management of trauma patients with alcohol involvement

1 Departments of Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Unit, Western Health, Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Registrar, Western Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
3 School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Kai H Lee
Western Health, Gordon Street, Footscray, Victoria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_140_16

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Background: Alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) in trauma patients has been reported in literature to be effective in changing harmful drinking patterns and injury recurrence. Despite good evidence that SBI can benefit patients and provide a more holistic care, it is not routinely implemented in acute medical settings in Australia, in particular emergency departments (EDs). Objective: This paper aims to assess the knowledge, confidence, and practice of alcohol SBI in trauma patients by emergency physicians throughout Australia and New Zealand through an online survey. Methods: Major EDs in Australia and Zealand were approached to participate in an online survey. Results from the survey were analyzed using simple descriptive summary statistics. Results: Fifty-eight physicians participated in the online survey. Almost all physicians reported at least 10% of all patients managed in ED had traumatic injuries and 35% had alcohol involvement. About 66% were consultant physicians and 84% had 5 or more years of practice. Sixty-four percent agreed to have adequate training in SBI, 22% had adequate time and resources, 47% would like more training in patient screening, and 72% were more likely to deliver SBI in 5 min. Limited time and resources were seen as major barriers. It was found that better understating of SBI may lead to higher confidence and more practice, or vice versa. Conclusion: High proportion of participants in this survey felt under-equipped to deliver SBI due to time limitation, perceived lack of resources, unsuitable environment, and supportive staff. There exists an opportunity to develop a shortened and efficient SBI program that can improve utilization of SBI in an emergency setting.

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