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Alcohol use amongst older adults: Knowledge and beliefs of occupational therapists working in physical health care settings

Maclean, Fiona; Gill, Jan; O�May, Fiona; Breckenridge, Jenna


Fiona Maclean

Jan Gill

Fiona O�May

Jenna Breckenridge


Introduction There is little discussion in the United Kingdom occupational therapy literature surrounding the topic of older people and alcohol, despite the growing prevalence of alcohol-related health problems in older adults resulting from an ageing population and changing patterns of consumption. Occupational therapists in physical health care settings are likely to work with older people whose drinking pattern may not be alcohol dependent, but may put their physical or psychological health at risk.

Method A survey methodology was employed using open and closed questions, recruiting occupational therapists (band 5 to 9) (n = 122) working with older people (65+ years) in physical health care settings across all, except one, National Health Service Regional Health Boards in Scotland.

Results Responses highlight gaps in occupational therapists’ knowledge around alternative ‘safe limits’ of alcohol intake for older people. Belief in professional role was evident, but the perception was that this was not supported by undergraduate education. Occupation focused theory and assessment were not prioritized when considering alcohol in the older adult.

Conclusion This study has highlighted a need to develop pre- and post-qualification education for occupational therapists, to enhance understanding of theory, assessment and knowledge of alcohol with older adults in physical health care settings

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2015
Publication Date 2015-05
Deposit Date Feb 18, 2015
Print ISSN 0308-0226
Electronic ISSN 1477-6006
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 78
Issue 5
Pages 320-330
Keywords Alcohol; older adults; consumption; abuse; occupational therapy;
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