Healthcare system use by risky alcohol drinkers: A secondary data analysis.
ABSTRACT To examine the effects of at-risk alcohol use on patterns of healthcare use and health outcomes.
Using the National Health Interview Survey and the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, a total sample of 4449 adults, mean age 45 (SD 15), were grouped according to responses to the question: "In the past year, on how many days did you have 5 or more drinks of any alcoholic beverage?"
Three categories of respondents were grouped as follows: not at-risk group = 0 days of 5+ drinks/day (n = 2991, 67%); the low at-risk group = 1-11 days of 5+ drinks/day (n = 796, 18%); and the high at-risk group = 12-365 days of 5+ drinks/day (n = 662, 15%). The level of risky alcohol use did not predict healthcare use or healthcare outcomes; high at-risk alcohol drinkers were less likely to use the healthcare system than other drinkers. When divided by rural versus urban living, rural high at-risk alcohol drinkers reported more emergency department visits and all rural living groups reported poorer physical and mental health than their urban counterparts.
Risky alcohol use, defined as drinking above low-risk guidelines, affects 3 out of 10 adults, and risky drinking plays a role in over 60 chronic health conditions. Nurse practitioners encounter risky alcohol users in multiple practice settings. It may be difficult to identify the underlying alcohol issues, particularly in those living in rural settings; however, identification of at-risk drinkers is essential for prompt intervention in the potential progression from risky alcohol use to an alcohol use disorder.
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ABSTRACT: Alcohol consumption is higher in regional and rural areas compared to metropolitan locations, but it is unclear which areas suffer different levels of harm. The current study investigated the rates of alcohol-related injury presentations at emergency departments (EDs) in Victoria, Australia, across metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote areas, and within coastal locations. Using ED injury presentations data for Victorian hospitals from June 1999 to June 2011, the trends in alcohol-related injury rates over time were investigated. Compared to metropolitan locations, alcohol-related injuries were higher in larger regional and rural areas and similar in small rural towns. The rates of alcohol-related injuries are also significantly increasing over time for regional and rural locations. Lastly, for males, rates of alcohol-related injuries increased in coastal areas during November to February compared to the remaining months. Regional and coastal areas experience increased alcohol-related injury rates. The causes of this have yet to be investigated and future research is required to determine why and what interventions may be most effective at reducing these harms.The Journal of Rural Health 06/2013; 29(3):320-326. DOI:10.1111/jrh.12014 · 1.77 Impact Factor