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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2011

Maureen Rakshi, Ian Wilson, Simon Burrow and Mark Holland

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…

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.

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