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Enhancing referrals to alcohol and other drug treatment

Oct 26, 2020

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By Kim Sander, Director of Allied Health Services | Metro North HHS Alcohol and Other Drugs Service

Patients with substance use issues need to be matched to the most suitable treatment type and service provider to maximise their outcomes and treatment engagement.

Representatives from seven Queensland PHNs with alcohol and other drug (AOD) programs recently met with Metro North Alcohol and Drug Service and Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support to discuss effective referral processes.

Simplifying referrals by GPs into Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment is key to ensuring enhanced matching of the patient to appropriate treatment options.

Through covering some key items when referring to treatment, optimum outcomes are provided.

Consultation with GPs in each of the PHN regions aims to ensure a list of key items to include in any referral for AOD treatment will be embedded in to general practice software systems Best Practice and Medical Director, to allow for easy prompts to these items when preparing written referrals.

It is proposed that the minimum details required for referral of your patient for alcohol and other drug treatment or seeking a medical addiction specialist opinion, to include the below:

  1. General practitioner details
  2. Patient details:
    a. name, DOB, Medicare number and contact details
    b. prescribed medications
    c. alerts/allergies
    d. what is the substance of concern?
  3. Provide a background including:
    a. brief alcohol and/or other substance use history
    b. mental health history
    c. psychosocial issues
    d. what do you believe the problem is?
  4. I am referring this patient for:
    Counselling/psychological support
    Assess for other suitable treatment options e.g. residential rehabilitation
    Withdrawal Management (Detox)
    Opioid Replacement Therapy
    Opinion from a Medical Addiction Specialist
    Opinion on Schedule 8 medication Management of Schedule 8 medication

If selecting one of the last five options, please name the Medical Addiction Specialist from whom you are requesting the opinion or management (named referral).

For clinical advice regarding the management of patients with alcohol and other drug concerns visit www.bnphn.org/MNHHS-AOD-advisory-service

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