Alcohol Use Disorders (153) Unanswered questions (5) How can all healthcare workers be empowered to provide brief advice? (2)

25 March, 2024

Dear Eduardo and all,

Thank you so much for your information about empowering health workers to give brief advice on alcohol to patients who may have an alcohol disorder:

The publications from WHO and NIAAA looked really useful. So too were the three videos you shared.

The WHO publication notes: "If available and necessary, a brief intervention may be delivered over several sessions (for example, 5–30 minutes) to help the individual to develop the skills and resources to change, or followed up to assess if further treatment is required."

In practice, many health workers will not have anything like this amount of time to share with each patient with an alcohol disorder, especially in low-resource settings.

I would be interested to hear what health workers can do when they have much less time (perhaps only 1 minute) to give brief advice on alcohol in the course of a consultation for a different issue (or indeed an alcohol-related issue). Is there such a thing as 'ultra brief advice'?

On this point I welcome any comments from busy frontline health workers on how they address people with alcohol disorders (mild, moderate or severe) in the course of their clinical work.

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: