January 12, 2023

New ACS guideline helps trauma centers screen patients for mental health, substance misuse

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

On January 10, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) reported on a new best practice guideline released to help healthcare professionals screen trauma patients for mental health disorders and substance misuse.

Because alcohol and substance misuse problems are prevalent and increasing in trauma patients, this guideline is an important step to help at-risk patients receive necessary screenings and interventions to improve overall outcomes, according to the report.

Steps for implementing the guideline, “Screening and intervention for mental health disorders and substance use and misuse in the acute trauma patient,” include:

  • Creating an interdisciplinary workgroup
  • Conducting a gap analysis of current practices
  • Developing an action plan
  • Integrating the guideline into the trauma patient safety, performance improvement plans.

Implementing the guideline begins with wide dissemination and buy-in from trauma leaders and others involved in quality and performance improvement initiatives, ACS says.

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