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Alcohol screening for older adults in an acute general hospital: FAST v. MAST-G assessments

  • Rachel Knightly (a1), George Tadros (a2), Juhi Sharma (a2), Peter Duffield (a2), Emma Carnall (a3), Jacqui Fisher (a3) and Shaza Salman (a1)...
Abstract
Aims and method

Documented prevalence of alcohol misuse among older adult patients at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital is significantly lower than the national prevalence. We aimed to evaluate our alcohol misuse screening protocol for older adults to identify possible shortcomings. Hospital protocol is to screen all adults for alcohol misuse in the accident and emergency (A&E) department using the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST). One hundred consecutive consenting in-patients aged 65–94 admitted via A&E subsequently undertook an additional alcohol screening test (Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test-Geriatric version; MAST-G). Results of the two tests were compared.

Results

FAST screening was completed for 71 patients and none were FAST-positive for alcohol misuse, yet using MAST-G, 18 patients scored positively for alcohol misuse. FAST screening failed to identify 8 patients with a documented history of alcohol misuse.

Clinical implications

Older adult alcohol misuse prevalence is significantly underreported using FAST. Screening older adults for alcohol problems requires a different approach to screening the general population.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to George Tadros (george.tadros@nhs.net)
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Alcohol screening for older adults in an acute general hospital: FAST v. MAST-G assessments

  • Rachel Knightly (a1), George Tadros (a2), Juhi Sharma (a2), Peter Duffield (a2), Emma Carnall (a3), Jacqui Fisher (a3) and Shaza Salman (a1)...
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