• Addressing the needs of older adults receiving alcohol treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic: a qualitative study

      Seddon, Jennifer L.; Trevena, Paulina; Wadd, Sarah; Elliott, Lawrie; Dutton, Maureen; McCann, Michelle; Willmott, Sarah; University of Bedfordshire; Glasgow Caledonian University (Taylor and Francis, 2021-03-22)
      Background: The Covid-19 global pandemic resulted in major changes to the provision of alcohol treatment in the UK, these changes coincided with increases in the use of alcohol. This study sought to understand the impact of the pandemic on older adults in alcohol treatment, and to explore how changes in the provision of alcohol treatment were experienced. Method: Semi-structured interviews were completed with older adults (aged 55+) in alcohol treatment, as well as alcohol practitioners providing support to older adults. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test – Consumption (AUDIT-C). Results: Thirty older adults in alcohol treatment and fifteen alcohol practitioners were recruited. The Covid-19 pandemic was found to result in both increases and decreases in alcohol use; changes in alcohol use depended on a number of factors, such as living arrangements, family support, physical and mental health. Many alcohol treatment services moved to a model of remote support during the pandemic. However, face-to-face service provision was considered to be essential by both older adults in alcohol treatment and alcohol practitioners. Engagement with online support was low, with older adults facing barriers in using online technology. Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of face-to-face treatment and intervention for older adults in alcohol treatment. Addiction services may see increased demand for treatment as a result of the pandemic; it is important that services consider the needs of older adults, many of whom may be marginalised by a remote model of service provision.
    • Cognitive impairment and treatment outcomes among people attending an alcohol intervention service for those aged 50+

      Seddon, Jennifer L.; Wadd, Sarah; Madoc-Jones, Iolo; Elliot, L.; University of Bedfordshire; Glasgow Caledonian University; Wrexham Glyndwr University (Emerald, 2021-03-22)
      Purpose: No studies have evaluated the relationship between cognitive impairment and alcohol treatment outcomes among older drinkers. This study sought to explore the extent of cognitive impairment among older adults seeking alcohol treatment, and examine the relationship between cognitive impairment, treatment retention and alcohol use following treatment. Design/ methodology/ approach: The study used data from the Drink Wise Age Well programme; an alcohol intervention service for older adults (aged 50+). The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to screen for cognitive impairment; alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Findings: 531 participants completed assessment at treatment entry. Over half the sample were male (57%), with a mean age of 60 years (SD: 7.09). Almost half (48.4%) had cognitive impairment at entry to treatment: 51.6% had normal cognitive function, 41.4% had mild cognitive impairment, 5.8% had moderate cognitive impairment and 1.1% had severe cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment was not associated with increased treatment drop-out and was not predictive of alcohol use following treatment. Alcohol treatment was associated with a significant improvement in cognitive functioning. Originality/ value: This study suggests there may be a significant amount of unidentified cognitive impairment among older adults attending alcohol treatment. Assessment and routine screening for cognitive impairment in drug and alcohol services may help in care planning and setting treatment goals; in the absence of routine screening opportunities for treatment planning and intervention may be missed.