To examine (1) the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in adult general hospital inpatients; (2) the accuracy of documentation in relation to alcohol use.Methods
A total of 210 random patients were interviewed out of 1,448 consecutive new admissions to CUH over 7 days. Case notes were reviewed for 206 (98%). Alcohol consumption was assessed using the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST) and weekly drinking diary. FAST-positive (and a random sample of FAST-negative) patients then had a standardized interview.Results
A total of 82% admitted for drinking alcohol. Among them 22% were drinking in excess of guidelines, 9% had DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and 7% dependence. The sensitivity and specificity of the FAST for detecting those drinking above guidelines were 89 and 94% and for detecting a DSM-IV diagnosis was 100 and 73%. The majority of case notes contained inadequate information about alcohol intake.Conclusion
Alcohol use disorders are common and often undetected in the general hospital setting.