4. The role of those without a role - The perspective of non-clinical professionals in emergencyshelters on how to manage alcohol use disorder - police, security agents and cleaning staff

Friday, 25 November, 2022 - 13:20 to 14:50
Knowledge market 4 (K4)

Abstract

During the COVID19 pandemic, homeless people affected by alcohol use disorder (AUD) integrated in Emergency Centres were offered specific and innovative pharmacological intervention, however alcohol use was not allowed inside the shelters. Non-clinical professionals, who are not part of the technical team (police, security and cleaning staff), interacted informally with these clients inside and outside the centres. These professionals may have an opinion about alcohol use and how to manage it. Will these opinions influence the client’s alcohol use or the adherence to the programs offered?

We carried interviews with non-clinical workers from an emergency shelter: police officers (3), security agents (2) and cleaning staff (1). Qualitative data analysis was applied to identify main themes emerging from these workers’ narratives.

Most of the professionals interviewed had informal conversations with clients and, when interacting, were aware of their alcohol use disorder and the availability of pharmacological treatment. Most had some opinion about the relevance of other aspects involved (unemployment, lack of housing, mental illness, etc.), about the service network in the city and suggestions about how shelters should be managed.

Police officers, security agents, and cleaning staff do not have an assigned role in the interaction with clients in the shelters, however they often interact informally and they address AUD, and provide suggestions and potential solutions. This brings the discussion about the role of these professionals in shelters, and other social and health services and the potential need to better define their tasks or provide specific training.

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