Qualitative exploration of barriers to alcohol management in patients with chronic disease in a regional setting

Mudd, Julie, Preston, Robyn, and Larkins, Sarah (2020) Qualitative exploration of barriers to alcohol management in patients with chronic disease in a regional setting. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 26 (3). pp. 265-270.

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Chronic diseases are a major contributor to the burden of disease in Australia. Alcohol consumption is similar in people with chronic disease and the general public, and may contribute to management challenges. In regional Australia, there are limited options for the management of excess alcohol consumption, so most of this burden falls to general practitioners. This study explored how staff in general practices are managing alcohol in patients with chronic disease with a view to determining what additional services may be appropriate. Brief interviews were conducted with doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners across three general practices in a regional centre. Interviews were analysed using abductive thematic techniques to elicit broad themes. In all, 18 interviews were conducted. All interviewees found the management of patients with chronic disease who were drinking in excess of guidelines to be challenging. The complexity of patients, in terms of health needs and social circumstances, affected management and self-care. Australian drinking cultural norms also affected patients' and practitioners' behaviour. Multidisciplinary care was highlighted by all health professionals; however, there were challenges maintaining staff motivation, a lack of training in alcohol management and a lack of referral or assistance services. Experienced practitioners identified that the patient was the key stakeholder who needed to take ownership of their health. The combined burden of excess alcohol consumption and chronic disease is a common management challenge faced by staff in general practice. Although there was evidence of awareness of the issue and a concerted effort to address the problem, most staff felt they had inadequate training, skills and resources. More undergraduate or postgraduate training in alcohol management and more resources are required to support general practitioners in this area.

Item ID: 63761
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-7399
Keywords: general practice
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Copyright Information: © La Trobe University 2020.
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Mudd, Julie (2020) An investigation of the effects of alcohol on chronic disease management in a regional setting. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 07:30
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420304 General practice @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420210 Social epidemiology @ 50%
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