Frequent attenders to accident and emergency departments: qualitative study of individuals who repeatedly present with alcohol-related health conditions
Alcohol-related hospital admissions cost the NHS greatly and a sub-group of alcohol-misusing patients, known as ‘alcohol-related frequent attenders’ (AFAs), account for a disproportionate amount of this burden. Whilst there is an urgent need for interventions to assist AFAs, very little is known about the characteristics of this population or what works in treating them. This study will address this information gap by providing crucial new insights into the characteristics, views and experiences of AFAs to A&E departments. We will conduct in-depth interviews with 30 AFAs to A&E, followed by 6 focus groups with A&E staff and specialist alcohol workers in A&E departments. Our analyses will enable us to understand what types of interventions are likely to be most effective in improving the health and wellbeing of AFAs whilst reducing the burden on the NHS. Findings from the study will be presented to key stakeholders and written up in accessible leaflets, briefing documents and academic papers. Analyses will also be used to adapt an existing outreach intervention for dependent drinkers so that it is more suited to the needs of AFAs. Lastly, we will prepare and submit new funding applications for further research to implement and evaluate the most promising interventions for AFAs. The study is being funded by a one-year research grant provided by Alcohol Research UK.