Within the Plastics Department at Middlemore Hospital there is concern for an increasing number of alcohol related injuries requiring hospitalisation and operations. Research was initiated to assess the burden of alcohol related injuries and trial a brief intervention (BI).
Patients over 16 years admitted for an alcohol related injury to the Plastic Surgery department were invited to participate. Reasons for declining were documented. Participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) alcohol screening and the brief Young Adults Alcohol Related Consequences Questionnaire (B-YAARCQ) then were allocated to either no intervention (control), standardised text messages (passive BI) and personalised message (active BI) groups. Participants are followed up with repeat alcohol questionnaires at 6 and 12 weeks.
Patient participation rates were 47%. AUDIT and B-YAARCQ scores have shown 88.5% of our injured patients to be within the harmful and dependent range. Patient follow-up response rates were low at 6 weeks with 11% response rate.
Despite incurring injury, 53% of people approached did not want to participate in an intervention, suggesting that these patients are in a pre-contemplative stage.. The poor follow up rate highlights the difficulties of compliance and motivation in this cohort. A BI may not be applicable in our patients as they are not actively seeking help and willing to make a lifestyle change. There is a need for a behavioural change but further studies are required to assess what is the most effective method of reducing alcohol use and alcohol related harm in our patients.