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Alcohol Abuse Among Older Adults: A Guide for Home Healthcare Nurses

Abstract:
This course reviews alcohol-related disorders and problems among older adults, issues related to alcohol use and the aging process, and screening for alcohol-related problems. It reviews the types of substance-related disorders, special issues for older adults, alcohol and the aging process, major adverse consequences of alcohol among older adults, triggers and risk factors for older adults, and the goals, objectives, and purpose of alcohol-related screening tools. In addition, the course provides information necessary for home healthcare nurses to administer the ElderScreen tool and provide support for decisions to decrease or stop drinking.

Authors:
Mim Landry, Senior Science Writer, Danya International; Kelly Munly, M.S., Research Associate and Project Director, Danya International.

Sponsor:
This course is sponsored by Danya International and was developed with funding from the National Institute on Aging.

Accreditation:
This course has not yet been approved for nursing continuing education units.

Audience: Nurses

Time: 2 hours

Cost: $20

Objectives:
After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe experimental and nonproblematic substance use, substance abuse, and addiction/substance dependence

  • Describe early and late onset drinking, prescription drug misuse, and serious alcohol-prescription medication combinations

  • Understand that aging and chronic alcohol use shrink parts of the brain, and how body water losses and stomach changes affect alcohol effects among older people

  • Describe the effects of chronic, heavy alcohol use on major body systems, processes, and cognitive health

  • Describe several alcohol-related risk and protective factors, as well as age-related transitions that can act as triggers or risk factors for substance use

  • Describe the purpose, characteristics, and rationale for alcohol-related screenings, and use ElderScreen as the basis for conducting screenings and brief interventions