Needs assessment and current practice of alcohol risk assessment of pregnant women and women of childbearing age by primary health care professionals
Can J Clin Pharmacol Vol 15(2) Summer 2008:e214-e222; June 1, 2008
Original Research
Penelope M Davis, Tracy L Carr, Cindy B La

Background
Assessing the current practices and learning and resource needs of primary health care professionals in regards to their alcohol risk assessment practices is an important step in providing optimal training and educational methods. Needs and current practices in alcohol risk assessment of pregnant women and women of child bearing years may vary according to practitioner demographics.

Methods
To appraise alcohol risk assessment current practices and learning and resource needs among Saskatchewan primary health care professionals, a mail and online survey was distributed in the spring of 2006 to family physicians/general practitioners and nurse practitioners.

Results
In total, 876 surveys were distributed and 386 were returned for an overall response rate of 44.1%. The majority of survey respondents reported either rarely or never using a standardized screening tool in assessing alcohol risk in women or reported using a standardized screening tool that is less sensitive. Current practices varied according to gender, length of time in practice and practice location, while learning and resource needs were more likely to be identified by nurse practitioners, female physicians, and physicians from rural areas. Physicians who had practiced for less than 5 years were more likely to want an online course.

Discussion
Knowing the needs and practices of health care professionals may assist learning and resource training and could assist in teaching best practices in alcohol risk assessment. Assessing alcohol risk in pregnant women and women of childbearing age is critical for prevention of FASD.

Key Words: FASD prevention; learning and resource needs; family physicians/general practitioners; nurse practitioners; survey; alcohol risk assessment; pregnant and childbearing aged women

 

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