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An independent evaluation of the Alcohol Cognitive Enhancement (ACE) Program in Tasmanian Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) organisations

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posted on 2024-05-01, 03:10 authored by Eleanor VincentEleanor Vincent

The relationship between substance use and executive functioning has been well documented in the literature, however, it has translated poorly into clinical practice. Many treatments to improve executive functioning are new and their feasibility and acceptability remain largely untested. The current paper sought to evaluate the Alcohol Cognitive Enhancement (ACE) Program across three inpatient and two outpatient Tasmanian Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Organisations for feasibility, completion and engagement, effectiveness, and organisational change. The ACE Program aims to identify and support individuals with comorbid cognitive impairment through the application of assessment tools, group workshops, and Brief Interventions. The evaluation employed both a quantitative and qualitative approach, including the collection of intervention and completion data, administration of validated assessment tools for clients, client and staff feedback surveys, and qualitative interviews with both staff and clients. Five Tasmanian AOD organisations were involved in the implementation and 328 AOD clients engaged with at least one aspect of the ACE Program. Overall, =90% staff indicated the ACE Program was feasible, as measured by perceptions of training, and support. Each organisation completed the ACE groupwork sessions between 2-5 times, with approximately one-third (38%) of clients engaging with at least one module of groupwork. Of those, more than 50% engaged with modules 1-7 and between 15-30% engaged with modules 8-12. AOD staff indicated an increased capacity (>90%) to identify cognitive impairment using the ACE screening tools, with 325 ACE Screeners and 119 BEAT assessments administered across the pilot trial. In addition, 80% of staff felt they could easily refer their clients to the ACE program groupwork. Preliminary data suggested a significant improvement in cognitive impairment from pre to post intervention, where 75% of clients showed clinically significant change in their cognition, based on the administration of 114 pre-intervention and 20 post intervention Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function assessments for adults (BRIEF-A). Qualitative perspectives including implementation successes and barriers, organisational change and level of engagement are discussed. Program recommendations include increased funding, resources, and support such as increased access to allied health and medical professionals.

History

Sub-type

  • Master's Thesis

Pagination

vi, 58 pages

Department/School

School of Psychological Sciences

Publisher

University of Tasmania

Event title

Graduation

Date of Event (Start Date)

2024-03-20

Rights statement

Copyright 2024 the author

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