MAKE BETTER REFERRALS WITH THE NIAAA ALCOHOL TREATMENT NAVIGATOR®

Pointing the way to evidence-based care®

Different patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may need different treatment options. Fortunately, today there are more choices than you and your patients may expect

Specialist physicians, therapists, and programs offer evidence-based AUD treatment at different levels of intensity in a variety of settings.  Telehealth and online options allow for physical distancing during the COVID emergency while offering flexibility and privacy that may appeal to many patients.

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The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you connect patients with the full range of evidence-based, professional alcohol treatment providers. You can do this in two ways:

  • Build or expand your referral list. Use the Navigator to add quality specialists—therapists, physicians, and programs—that offer evidence-based care.   
  • Share the Navigator directly with patients. Help your patients and their loved ones understand today’s varied treatment options--and put some decision power in their hands.

See the sections below for tips on using the Navigator, sharing it with patients, and helping patients who drink too much.



doctor on her phone


HOW TO BUILD OR EXPAND YOUR REFFERAL LIST IN 3 STEPS

Search – Ask - Choose




Here’s how to add quality alcohol treatment providers to your referral list:

  • Step 1 - Search: Use trusted directories to find specialty physicians, therapists, and programs. Some results may require an easy follow up search online for contact info.
  • Step 2 - Ask: See the recommended questions to ask and learn how to listen for quality in the answers.  You’ll confirm credentials, services, availability, and more.
  • Step 3 - Choose: Capture what you learn from providers in a Choices Chart.  You can then see at a glance which ones have the most signs of quality, which will help you choose wisely.

Note:  During the COVID-19 emergency, the Navigator can help you locate quality alcohol treatment through telehealth services or online programs. Make sure to add these resources to your referral list if you think your patients would benefit from them.

You can use this Referral Sheet Template, below, to organize, print, and share your new list of referral resources.

Referral Sheet Template

Organize and print your new list of the referral resources you found.


doctor on her phone

HOW TO SHARE THE NAVIGATOR WITH PATIENTS

Tips for sharing with patients or family members who wish to search on their own.




Here are a few ways to inform patients about the Navigator. Before sharing, become familiar with the website and have in mind pages to highlight. And when you do share, offer to help them later, too, if they need help choosing an option. 

You can share the Navigator with patients…

  • In person. Share selected website pages using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • By email or social media. See the Spread the Word page for ready-made content.    
  • In print. Print the flyers below and post on bulletin boards, mail, or use as handouts.
Handouts and flyers about the Navigator thumbnail

Handout or flyer—8.5 x 11” (1 page)

These describe how the Navigator can help people to recognize and find quality alcohol treatment that meets their needs.

 

Handouts postcard thumbnail

Handouts—postcard size (4 per page)

These provide brief messages to encourage people to visit the Navigator.

For patients who drink heavily and do not yet need treatment--or will not yet accept a referral—consider recommending Rethinking Drinking, NIAAA’s prevention website. It offers tools and tips for making a change on their own.


doctor on her phone

HOW TO HELP PATIENTS WHO DRINK TOO MUCH

Resources for alcohol screening, assessment, and treatment with medications.





Here are resources to support you in screening all patients for heavy alcohol use, assessing those who drink heavily, and treating those with alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

USPSTF recommendation for alcohol screening   

Screening and brief intervention guides

Assessment and diagnosis support 

AUD medication guides  

Implementation guides

Clinical trials on alcohol treatment  

  • For studies at NIAAA in Bethesda, MD, visit the Join a Study page or call 301-496-1993.
  • For NIAAA-supported studies nationwide, visit this ClinicalTrials.gov page.

See also Helpful Links for links to mutual support groups, eHealth treatment tools, resources for family and friends, and adolescent treatment resources.  



Here's what primary care providers are saying about the Navigator:

  • It takes the guesswork out of finding resources and makes the search process easier.
    – Physician assistant
  • It gives a framework for the approach to take with the next patient in need.
    – Internal medicine physician
  • It can put some of the power and decision making into the hands of the patient and family.
    – Nurse practitioner