Alcohol Care Team wins prestigious award

23rd Nov 2022

The Alcohol Care team (ACT) at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has scooped a prestigious national award after more than halving the number of patients needing hospital care for their addiction.

The team at  triumphed in the Emergency and Critical Care category at the Nursing Times Awards.

They were crowned for improving the care and management of alcohol dependent patients in their accident and emergency department which they achieved with their innovative approach, which empowers patients to take ownership of their own recovery.

Arlene Copland, Alcohol Nurse Consultant at the Trust, said: “It is an honour to win this award. The ACT aim to provide a multifaceted, holistic, evidenced-based approach to alcohol related health problems, that embrace the individual’s health and their psychological and socioeconomic well-being, as well as that of their families.

“We encourage patients to take control of their own recovery and to work in partnership with the ACT to achieve positive long-term outcomes.

“This involves preventing the ‘quick fix’ but working with the patient on an outpatient basis to stabilise and reduce their drinking and to improve their coping strategies prior to detox.

“Working with the patient in this way helps them regain control over their drinking, which is an original concept.”

The team have prevented approximately 1,950 bed days in the first four years of the initiative and the number of admissions for acute withdrawal reduced from 1.66 per cent of all acute admissions, to 0.68 per cent. And patient satisfaction is high – with 100 per cent surveyed saying they are happy with their care and would recommend the service.

“We also support and educate our colleagues across the Trust, working together in partnership,” Arlene added. “A&E staff have a better understanding of addiction and their judgement towards those attending their department due to alcohol has reduced, improving the patient experience.”

This project has gained attention from both NHS England and Public Health England, who published a case study on this service. This model has been used in the national ACT plan to advise other NHS Trusts.

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