Everyone is unique when it comes to detox. Research supports individualised approach to withdrawal management.

In a 2014 study British researchers/clinicians Murdoch and Marsden highlight how an evidence-based, individualised approach to alcohol withdrawal management achieved marked improvements in care, including significant reductions in length of inpatient stay, withdrawal symptoms reported and amount of medication used. Taking into account the substantial individual variation relating to alcohol withdrawal by using a more individualised, integrated, ‘symptom-triggered’ protocol resulted in ‘startling’ benefits to patients, showing that a tailored approach, customised to the individual, beats the standard, one size fits all approach.

ABSTRACT: In acute hospital settings, alcohol withdrawal often causes significant management problems and complicates a wide variety of concurrent conditions, placing a huge burden on the NHS. A significant number of critical incidents around patients who were undergoing detoxification in a general hospital setting led to the need for a project to implement and evaluate an evidence-based approach to the management of alcohol detoxification—a project that included a pre-intervention case note audit, the implementation of an evidence-based symptom-triggered detoxification protocol, and a post-intervention case note audit. This change in practice resulted in an average reduction of almost 60% in length of hospital stay and a 66% reduction in the amount of chlordiazepoxide used in detoxification, as well as highlighting that 10% of the sample group did not display any signs of withdrawal and did not require any medication. Even with these reductions, no patient post-intervention developed any severe signs of withdrawal phenomena, such as seizures or delirium tremens. The savings to the trust (The Pennine Acute Hospital Trust) are obvious, but the development of a consistent, quality service will lead to fewer long-term negative effects for patients that can be caused by detoxification. This work is a project evaluation of a locally implemented strategy, which, it was hypothesised, would improve care by providing an individualised treatment plan for the management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

View Abstract here: www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/full/10.12968/bjon.2014.23.4.198/p>

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