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Type: Journal article
Title: Health professionals' knowledge, practice and opinions about fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol consumption in pregnancy
Author: Payne, J.
Elliott, E.
D'Antoine, H.
O'Leary, C.
Mahony, A.
Haan, E.
Bower, C.
Citation: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2005; 29(6):558-564
Publisher: Public Health Assoc Australia Inc
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 1326-0200
Statement of
Jan Payne, Elizabeth Elliott, Heather D'Antoine, Colleen O'Leary, Anne Mahony, Eric Haan and Carolyn Bower
Abstract: <h4>Objective</h4>To measure the knowledge, attitudes and practices of health professionals regarding fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and alcohol use during pregnancy.<h4>Method</h4>A postal survey of a representative random sample of health professionals was conducted in Western Australia (WA) in 2002/03. 1,143 (79%) of 1,443 eligible health professionals completed the survey (87 Aboriginal Health Workers, 286 allied health professionals, 537 community nurses, 170 general practitioners and 63 obstetricians).<h4>Results</h4>Of 1,143 health professionals, 12% identified all four essential diagnostic features of FAS. Most (95%) had never diagnosed FAS. Although 82% believed that making a diagnosis of FAS might improve treatment plans and 85% agreed FAS was preventable, 53% said the diagnosis might be stigmatising. Only 2% felt very prepared to deal with FAS and most wanted information for themselves and their clients. Of the 659 health professionals caring for pregnant women, only 45% routinely ask about alcohol use in pregnancy, only 25% routinely provide information on the consequences of alcohol use in pregnancy and only 13% provide advice consistent with NHMRC guidelines on alcohol consumption in pregnancy.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Health professionals have identified the need for educational materials for themselves and their clients.<h4>Implications</h4>FAS is likely to be under-ascertained in Australia due to a lack of knowledge of FAS by health professionals. Until this lack of knowledge is addressed, opportunities for diagnosis and prevention of FAS will be limited.
Keywords: Humans
Data Collection
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Alcohol Drinking
Middle Aged
Health Personnel
Western Australia
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2005.tb00251.x
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 6
Paediatrics publications

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