University of Leicester
2013BardRMDClinPsy.pdf (1.91 MB)

Brief Alcohol Intervention in Mental Health Services: Feasibility for Older Adults

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posted on 2013-10-08, 10:23 authored by Rachel Bard
Older people are at an increased risk of experiencing harmful effects from alcohol, particularly in conjunction with physical and mental health difficulties. Brief Alcohol Interventions (BI) aim to raise awareness of potential difficulties and enhance motivation to change drinking behaviour. There is a robust evidence base for using BI with adults drinking at hazardous/harmful levels. However, limited attention has been paid to how alcohol screening and BI can apply to older adult populations. The systematic review examined the literature investigating the effectiveness of using BI with older adults in primary care and the quality of the evidence evaluated. Although variation in the delivery of the BI and sampled populations was evident, evidence suggested that BI can be effective in reducing alcohol consumption for older adults, but less effective for those drinking at heavier levels. However, the literature was found to be limited in quality and number and using BI with older people or within secondary care remains under researched. A feasibility study of using alcohol screening and BI in mental health services for older people was developed. Community Psychiatric Nurses’ (CPNs) experiences of trialling the BI and attitudes towards addressing alcohol use with older people were explored through qualitative interviews, along with perceived barriers and facilitators for implementation. Challenges in undertaking research with older adults were highlighted and no hazardous drinkers identified to complete the BI. An overarching theme of anxiety about addressing alcohol and a lack of confidence in being able to influence the drinking behaviour of older people were identified. Older people had little knowledge about alcohol and its potential risks and differences emerged as to whether CPNs felt it their responsibility to address this. Several barriers to implementation were identified and the results indicated that offering BI within mental health services for older people was not feasible. For implementation to become successful, training and ongoing support is essential; to highlight the risks of alcohol for older people and the role CPNs can play. Further clinical implications and areas of future research are discussed.



Christie, Marilyn

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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