Currently in progress at Northwick Park Hospital is an educational programme for those who care for patients with symptoms of alcohol dependency and recovery . Too often patients being treated for other physical conditions are released with limited understanding and support. During the soft launch of the improvement project alcohol dependent patients were referred to an alcohol nurse specialist, who was better equipped to support transition into a detox care bundle.
With an overall aim to improve the care experience, as well as the long-term wellbeing of alcohol dependent patients, training and education of triage nurses and doctors has been paramount. As the primary point of contact for these patients and whether their admission originates from an alcohol related or physical condition, specialist hospital based staff can offer detox and psychological treatment for dependency related moods and behaviours and this can make all the difference to the outcome for the patient. What the project aims to avoid is premature discharge from hospital services. What it aims to do is to shape a well-planned and thought through discharge and referral to community-based support . Over time this should reduce hospital admissions and improve the standard of care for patients that require this kind of treatment and support.
Protocols follow existing NICE guidelines and utilise existing treatment and support programmes, but provide liaison and cross referenced services between them that can make all the difference to patient success and wellbeing.
For a variety of reasons, women are less likely to seek treatment for alcohol dependency, and while not all of these obstacles are addressed in this programme, accessibility, and thus the potential for improvement in their level of care, is increased.
The socio-cultural demographic in the area of the study does require an understanding of the local picture. A large percentage of the population seen by this service at Northwick Park Hospital is Polish and translators have been utilised to guarantee patient access. Making an effort to reduce health inequalities based on gender, and other minority differences, the care bundle improves the efficacy of the project and the standard of care.
The project is underway, and looks to be making significant strides in its goals to connect patients to the detox care bundle, reduce adverse symptoms, improve engagement, and complete a detox programme.