Outpatient alcohol withdrawal management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
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Background There is concern from within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the lack of access to alcohol withdrawal management (‘detox’) services. Outpatient detox is described within national Australian guidelines as a safe option for selected drinkers. However, uncertainly exists as to how suited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to this approach. Methods Consultations were conducted with stakeholders of four health services providing outpatient detox for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW. Thematic analysis was performed to determine elements perceived as important for success. Results Key themes that emerged were individual engagement, flexibility, assessment of suitability, Aboriginal staff and community engagement, practical support, counselling, staff education and support, coping with relapse and contingency planning. Discussion There is a need to improve access to alcohol detox services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The outpatient setting seems to be a feasible and safe environment to provide this kind of service for selected drinkers.