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Hospital Stay and Engagement in Outpatient Follow-Up After Alcohol Emergency Detox: A 1-Year Comparison Study

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Jan Scott


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BackgroundInpatient alcohol detoxifications are only proposed after motivational outpatient encounters because detoxification directly from the emergency department (ED) is believed to be associated with early dropout and poor adherence to outpatient follow-up. The aim of this prospective follow-up study was to test the feasibility of unscheduled (UP) alcohol detoxification directly from the ED and to compare the 1-year follow-up of these patients to that of scheduled (SP) patients.MethodsA quasi-naturalistic prospective follow-up study of 120 patients: 60 consecutively admitted patients referred directly by the ED for alcohol detoxification (UP) were compared to 60 consecutively admitted patients who had undergone the usual preparation for an inpatient detoxification program (SP). The length of hospitalization (in days) and attendance to postdischarge outpatient visits during the first year was compared.ResultsUP patients were older, less frequently employed, and had more somatic comorbidities compared with SP patients. The UP length of stay was significantly longer (2016 vs. 14 +/- 6, p=0.04). No difference in their postdischarge attendance was observed; the number of patients attending 1 session (57% UP vs. 65% SP, p=0.227) and 5 sessions (22% UP vs. 32% SP, p=0.151) and the mean number of postdischarge visits attended were comparable between the UP and SP groups (2.7 +/- 6 vs. 4.5 +/- 6; Mann-Whitney U=1,517, p=0.124).ConclusionsWe did not find that UP patients who had been admitted for alcohol detoxification had a significantly higher dropout rate or lower postdischarge addiction treatment attendance. Because they may have several advantages, detoxification programs directly linked with EDs should be further evaluated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Azuar J, Questel F, Hispard E, Scott J, Vorspan F, Bellivier F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Year: 2016

Volume: 40

Issue: 2

Pages: 418-421

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 04/02/2016

Acceptance date: 09/11/2015

ISSN (print): 0145-6008

ISSN (electronic): 1530-0277

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/acer.12962


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