The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has appointed an alcohol liaison nurse to support patients with alcohol misuse problems and work with staff at Craigavon Area Hospital.
Andrea Judge will be advising staff at the hospital in identifying and caring for patients with drink related issues and ensuring that those patients and their families get the specialist support they need.
The Big Lottery post, which is funded for three years, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland to support general hospital staff in dealing specifically with alcohol related problems.
Kieran Devlin, Southern Trust Impact of Alcohol Portfolio manager, said, “Increased alcohol consumption has led to a year-on-year increase in alcohol related hospital admissions in Northern Ireland, costing the health service millions of pounds and having a major impact on public health.
“We hope that through this post we will be able to offer more direct and specialised support to help patients in tackling the physical and mental effects of alcohol misuse and will be interested to see if the service has an impact on the number of alcohol related hospital admissions.”
The alcohol liaison nurse is one of eight Impact of Alcohol projects across Southern Trust acute and community services.
Andrea will be working with acute services staff and addiction services staff and fast-tracking patients to appropriate community services to address the patients’ lifestyle and behaviour.