Alcohol care teams join together to focus on supporting vulnerable people

The Collaborative is continuing to enable and maximise Alcohol Care Teams’ (ACTs) potential after hosting a fifth Clinical Network event on 15th December for colleagues working in alcohol care across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The key themes of this event included a focus on some our most vulnerable people (such as those who are homeless), how we can link in with local services to provide integrated care, and delivery of training to support this.

More than 50 attendees from services across the subregion including ACTs, community services, homeless organisations and patients were present at the event which for the first time also welcomed visiting representatives from Greater Manchester and from colleagues delivering care in custody.

The event started with a presentation by Dr Helen White on her latest research findings on Alcohol Related Cognitive Impairment (ARCI). This was followed by Dr Ryan Young who talked about specific considerations for homeless health.

Considering how we intend to measure our progress, David Byrne from Cheshire and Merseyside’s core alcohol team then presented on the subregion’s Alcohol Harm Dashboard together with the team’s initial (and proposed future) metric set, highlighting how we can work together across Cheshire and Merseyside to help local teams monitor and improve their services.

Members from the Network also shared some of their best practices, in terms of linking in with local services, to improve integration and help deliver more joined-up care for patients and services users.

Two of the Alcohol Specialist Nurse (ASNs) in the Network presented, starting with Gillian O’Hare, on their annual ‘Meet and Greet’ event, linking the hospital team with all the community-based support services in the area. Kayleigh Greavey followed this with a presentation on their quarterly ACT Newsletter to improve visibility of the team across the hospital, key issues, and what they offer, so that people can access their services in as sensitive and timely manner as possible.

This set up the foundations for the main workshop session of the day, following the theme of ‘linking in with your local services’, where each table considered what they do already, how they could improve, and what support they may need from the core team, or members from across the Network. They also offered ideas for good practice, or innovation, that they would like to share at a future event.

In between hosting the bi-annual Clinical Network Events, the Network offer training for colleagues across the patch, and Mandy Smith, Lead ASN, gave a recap of the training delivered in the last quarter, and an overview of the training scheduled for Q4 and Q1 (24-25).

This covered key areas such as ‘Alcohol and Mental Health’, ‘Substance Misuse Presentations in the Emergency Department’ and ‘Alcohol Related Liver Disease (ARLD)’.  Dr Lynn Owens then concluded the session with the Network’s intentions to develop the learning further in 24-25, and beyond.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with example comments including:

“Positive, appreciative atmosphere. Lots of interesting content.”

“Love it. Really motivates me to carry on with the good work we do.”

“Awesome forum, evidence based and engaging.”

“Great! Love that other services are attending. Inclusive and innovative. Feel we are being listened to which would help patient care and our wider community.”

Dr Paul Richardson, Consultant Hepatologist, Honorary Associate Clinical Professor, and co-lead for the Cheshire and Merseyside ‘Reduction of Harm from Alcohol’ Programme, said:

“Once again, we are delighted with the continued success of these Clinical Network events. Patients are at the heart of everything we do and it’s so important that we continue to build the Network and share learning with teams working in alcohol care across Cheshire and Merseyside.”

For further information on the Collaborative’s ‘Reduction of Harm from Alcohol’ programme, click here.