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Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABI)

 
The following elements can be considered key components of an ABI:
 
 

In practice, ABIs can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes to complete, and even a single session with a patient/client can be effective. There is good evidence that longer sessions are no more effective than briefer interventions.

The length of the intervention will depend on a variety of factors, including what the patient/client wants, the skills and confidence of the practitioner, the level of drinking involved, the interaction between the client and practitioner and the time available for both patient/client and practitioner.

Even short ABIs (sometimes referred to in the literature as ‘brief advice’) have a structure and style that distinguishes them from simply advising a person to drink less.

The first part of the structured conversation is focused on obtaining an accurate picture of the client’s alcohol consumption to assess whether they are suitable for an ABI, whether they should be signposted to another service, or if no action is required. Screening tools appropriate to specific settings provide an objective and validated way of assessing whether a client is a hazardous, harmful or a dependent drinker.

Screening is an important part of delivering ABIs and this alone may help the client recognise that they have a problem and start the process of thinking about change, or provide the motivation to change.

The delivery of ABIs remains a key priority for 2013-14. The long term aim of the ABI programme has always been to sustain and embed ABI delivery so that it becomes part of the standard offer of NHS Scotland, as well as developing the evidence base.

The HEAT standard will support the continued aim of embedding ABIs into core NHS business, i.e. that ABIs are part of the day-to-day practice of health professionals and others, not an add-on to their role. In addition, the standard will build on the ABI HEAT target and support implementation of the Quality Alcohol and Treatment Support (QATS) (see link)report recommendation, that NHS Boards and their ADP partners should continue to embed and sustain delivery of ABIs as a key early intervention which should form part of any local ADP strategy to reduce alcohol misuse and related harm.

 

 

Motivational interviewing

This is a collaborative style of conversation that practitioners can use to help clients explore and resolve their mixed feelings about changing their behaviour in a way that enhances their motivation and ability to make changes.

 

 

 
 


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