Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Surge in Alcohol-Related Emergency-Department Visits Needs a Different Approach

Surge in Alcohol-Related Emergency-Department Visits Needs a Different Approach: While moderate drinking – up to one drink per day for women, two for men – can be part of a healthy lifestyle, excessive and chronic drinking can contribute to injury and disease. Each year, U.S. patients utilize emergency department (ED) services more than 130 million times, averaging nearly four visits per every 10 people. Alcohol-related injury and disease are commonly the cause of these visits. This study examined trends in ED visits that involved heavy and chronic drinking by age and gender between 2006 to 2014.

Many admissions to ER departments by alcohol using patients are in fact re-admissions that are related to acute chronic alcoholism that remains untreated. In many cases, family members and close friends are motivated at these moments to step in and do something useful to get an alcoholic into treatment. One answer to ER department re-admissions is therefore intervention, but let's forget about your typical and unrealistic approach to intervention that has been see on television and offered at extraordinary expensive by private intervention specialists.

It is not necessary to have a paid intervention training specialist sit with a family on a Sunday morning after a pancake breakfast to guide a planned and rehearsed intervention to motivate an alcohol to enter treatment. What's needed instead is education for family and close friends on the effective use of leverage and influence--two resource tools--that exist in all relationships. These things are why 99% or greater of hospital admissions to treatment programs occur as a result of family members or friends saying that the decision on the part of their addict was NON-NEGOTIABLE. Learn how to intervene with an alcoholic by first, not learning how to do intervention, but by motivating yourself and your family members with accurate information about the disease of drug/alcohol addiction with this video -- 

If you are business owner, you will someday get a phone call about an employee who in the hospital for some drug and alcohol abuse emergency. This individual's absence from your workplace, and sudden unavailability is what you can base a intervention upon. Has this happened before? And are you at the point yet where you would not mind firing this worker? If so, you are ready to roll with a performance-based intervention. In this instance, you are not going to be calling in family members or friends to help you do an intervention. Not at all. And your intervention will not take longer than a few minutes.

When your employee comes back to work, you use the leverage of job security to nothing more than get an employee to agree to a professional assessment with an employee assistance professional.

You can find one by contacting the - they will lead you to an EAP company that can guide you further. The intervention in actuality can be done in one minute. This is why I refer to it as the "one minute intervention." The script goes something like this:

John, you have much potential here with our company, but I am going to let you go today because you are unreliable. You are absent and unavailable to work without notice, and other issues like (fill in the blank) .....exist. But listen, there is one condition under which we are able to discuss saving your job. It is this: We would like you to visit with a professional counselor we have have hired...and by the way this is 100% totally up to you... and for the purpose of getting an assessment to see if you possibly have some sort of alcohol related problem. We are not saying you do, but this recent incident indicates that's possible. We want you to decide because we can't diagnose that sort of issue. But if you do visit with this professional, we are willing to guarantee your job if you follow through with their recommendations, if any, to get some sort of help. We will roll out the red carpet for you, guarantee that such help or treatment will not interfere with your job security or promotional opportunities, etc. So, what would you like to do? Would you like to meet with this person confidentially to see if you need some assistance, or would you like to pick up your check and be fired today. It is totally your decision.

Two points: 1) You are ready to let this employee go. And 2) you are offer completely accommodation for their potential medical situation.

Your employee will go to the assessment. If there is no question about it. It is 99% guaranteed in my experience unless they have another job lined up, can retire, or otherwise have another way of supporting themselves. In fact, if the employee does not have an alcohol problem, you could fire the employee after the assessment because there is nothing to accommodate. There is no medical issue that you were willing to support. Why keep this employee? Think about this approach. You have every right to fire the employee based upon performance related issues, but you are also willing to accommodate an active alcoholism problem if there is one. This is called performance-based intervention. We discuss this approach briefly in our Reasonable Suspicion Training program found here.

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