09 December 2009
Patients facing difficulties with alcohol can now get more specialist help and support at West Suffolk Hospital after two new posts were created within the trust.
Mario Iannone has been appointed as alcohol liaison support worker, and will be based in A&E for the next 12 months after the post was funded by West Suffolk Local Strategic Partnership through the Respect Alcohol, Respect Yourself (RARY) group. As part of his role, he will train A&E staff to use an alcohol screening tool which will help them to identify people at particular risk. These patients will then be directed to the appropriate external agencies for extra support.
Data collected as part of this work will be passed onto the LSP`s RARY group to help them to highlight trends and direct resources in the future.
“Initially we will be concentrating our efforts on screening men and women aged between 15 and 60, as evidence shows this group responds positively to the type of intervention we will be able to offer,” said Chris Hill, matron for acute medicine at the trust.
Mario added: “We’ll use a series of questions, coupled with our observations, to help us assess whether or not the individual could benefit from extra external support. They can then be signposted directly to the appropriate agency to meet their needs, in turn making sure they get the help they require before alcohol becomes a major problem for them.”
John Griffiths, chair of the West Suffolk LSP, said: “The LSP is committed to working in partnership to make life better for people who live in Suffolk and this includes keeping people healthy and safe. This project is the first step towards the early identification of people with alcohol issues, and aligning individuals to services at this point will improve access to help and support for those who may benefit.
“Such posts have not existed in Suffolk in the past. Through them we can make a positive impact on the lives of people affected by alcohol misuse.”
The second post, an alcohol liver disease nurse, comes following a successful bid for funding from the Government’s East of England Regional Office.
Louise Bland, a dual-trained general and mental health nurse, already has a specialist knowledge regarding this patient group and has been appointed to the year-long post. She will be responsible for developing an improved pathway of care for alcohol disease patients.
The project will look in detail at the patient’s journey from their admission as an inpatient until they are discharged, as well as the external help that is available. As part of her role, Louise will also look at developing better support packages for families and carers.
“I have worked with patients with alcohol difficulties for some time and am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities this new post will bring,” said Louise.
“Over the coming months, I will be looking in detail at the existing care pathway and working closely with colleagues in the hospital, external agencies and partner organisations to identify areas for improvement.
“The aim is to make sure that every patient who is admitted to hospital with alcohol difficulties can get the best possible help, with appropriate support offered to their families and carers at the same time.”