Screening and brief intervention for alcoholic patients treated at emergency rooms: prospects and challenges

Maria Luiza Segatto Ilana Pinsky Ronaldo Laranjeira Fabiana Faria Rezende Thaís dos Reis Vilela About the authors

The purpose of this article was to present the general principles, concepts, and main elements of brief intervention, with a literature review on its use for alcoholic patients treated at emergency rooms. It also presents the applicability of screening as a first step to the brief intervention process and the use of validated standard instruments that allow useful information for consistent feedback. Finally, it highlights the challenges associated with screening in emergency rooms due to insufficient time, inadequate professional training, fear of annoying the patient, and common beliefs that alcoholics do not respond to such interventions. Meanwhile, it emphasizes the relevancy of brief emergency intervention, which is both feasible and efficient, and the need for research to define the relevant adjustments by professionals and the health care system.

Alcoholism; Triage; Emergency Medical Services; Counseling


Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480 , 21041-210 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel.:+55 21 2598-2511, Fax: +55 21 2598-2737 / +55 21 2598-2514 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: cadernos@ensp.fiocruz.br