At Northwick Park Hospital an educational programme has been in place for those who care for patients with symptoms of alcohol dependency and recovery . Too often dependent patients being treated for other physical conditions are released with limited understanding and awareness of the support that is available to them. 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.

The overall aim has been to improve the care experience, as well as the long-term well-being of alcohol dependent patients. Training and education of triage nurses and doctors has been paramount because they are the first point of contact with them. Refferal to specialist hospital based staff can offer detox and psychological treatment for dependency related moods and behaviours, which this can make all the difference to the outcome for the patient and the efficacy of clinicians.

The project aims to avoid premature discharge from hospital services and to shape a well-planned and thought through discharge leading to referral to community-based support. Over time this should reduce both physical and dependency related 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 well-being.