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How can older people's mental health services in the UK respond to the escalating prevalence of alcohol misuse among older adults?

Maureen Rakshi (Community Mental Health Nurse – Older Adults, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Manchester, UK)
Ian Wilson (Dual Diagnosis Trainer/Worker, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Manchester, UK)
Simon Burrow (Teaching Fellow/Dementia Care Course Director, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Mark Holland (Consultant Nurse in Dual Diagnosis, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Manchester, UK)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 21 February 2011

Abstract

Purpose

There is growing statistical and research evidence to suggest that the prevalence of alcohol misuse is increasing among older adults in the UK. This has been an under‐recognised problem, but is now a source of increasing concern for health and social care providers. Older adults with mental health problems have increased vulnerability to problematic alcohol use, and this is likely to have a significant impact on older people's mental health services (OPMHS).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper discusses some of the problems facing OPMHS in relation to increasing alcohol misuse among services users.

Findings

There is also evidence that alcohol misuse in older adults is often poorly identified and untreated within health and social care services including OPMHS. Use of an alcohol‐screening tool as part of a health care assessment is an effective way to improve detection. This paper also reviews the use of alcohol screening tools in the detection of alcohol related illness among older adults with mental health problems and proposes a care pathway for the management of alcohol misuse in OPMHS.

Originality/value

Current evidence indicates that the prevalence of alcohol misuse among older adults is increasing and is likely to rise further due to the reasons discussed in this paper.

Keywords

Citation

Rakshi, M., Wilson, I., Burrow, S. and Holland, M. (2011), "How can older people's mental health services in the UK respond to the escalating prevalence of alcohol misuse among older adults?", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 17-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/17570971111155586

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited