Declaration of interests None.
Aims and method To investigate the burden of medical comorbidity in a population receiving in-patient treatment for drug and alcohol problems. All patients admitted over a 6-month period were included in the data-set. We recorded diagnostic information on admission that allowed the calculation of predicted 10-year survival using a previously validated comorbidity index.
Results Despite the majority of the sample having a predicted 10-year survival chance of greater than 75%, a sizeable minority (16.7%) are carrying a high burden of medical comorbidity, with a predicted 10-year survival chance of less than 50%. More than half (55.2%) of these patients were under the age of 55. Chronic respiratory disease was the most frequent diagnosis.
Clinical implications In-patient substance misuse units serve a complicated group of patients, whose needs are met by active medical input, resident medical cover and effective liaison with general hospitals. This is important when planning and commissioning treatment services. The high burden of respiratory disease suggests the utility of robust smoking cessation interventions among this population.
- © 2016 The Authors
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.