The link between traumatic injury and alcohol consumption is strong. Although statistics vary, from one half to one third of trauma victims admitted to critical care units have an alcohol-related injury. The initial role of the critical care nurse is to identify the presence of alcohol by monitoring the patient's BAC. Once the presence of alcohol is confirmed, its effects impact directly on the plan of care that evolves during the critical illness. Nursing interventions focus on four specific areas affected by alcohol: the ability of alcohol to mask injury, the effects of alcohol on medications, alcohol withdrawal, and rehabilitation from alcoholism. By incorporating these four areas into the plan of care, the critical care nurse assists the patient not only to recover from a traumatic injury but also to deal with a problem drinking pattern.

You do not currently have access to this content.