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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Avonbourne residential alcohol withdrawal service

Avonbourne at Poole Hospital provides specialist residential care, treatment and support seven days a week to people withdrawing from alcohol. This includes complex withdrawal where other medical conditions may be present.

Our dedicated team includes consultants, doctors, specialist nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, and dieticians, as well as support workers who are based both on Avonbourne and in the community.

And because we're part of Poole Hospital, we also provide a wide range of other inpatient services, caring for the whole person, not just withdrawal from alcohol. This means treating any other medical conditions which may or may not be linked to alcohol.

This care is offered in single en suite rooms with relaxing and spectacular views over Poole Bay

Our support doesn't end when it's time to leave Avonbourne. Our specialist community team can remain in touch with you to help you on your journey to better health.

We are part of Avonbourne Ward.

Our services

Avonbourne provides specialist inpatient medical, nursing, psychological, emotional and therapeutic care to support withdrawal from alcohol.

Patients are admitted to Avonbourne under the direct care of a consultant specialising in the treatment of those experiencing difficulties with alcohol.

A doctor will visit you on each day of your stay, including at weekends if required. Medical and nursing teams are also available 24 hours a day for your peace of mind.

Your specialist nurse will make sure that all of your care is provided seamlessly and at the right time for you.

Avonbourne's experienced specialist addiction nurses are dedicated to supporting you through your withdrawal. They will assess and plan your care in partnership with you, your family or friends, as well as your community-based keyworker.

Your specialist nurse will also monitor your medication to ensure you receive just the right amount to manage your withdrawal from alcohol.

As you may be given medication (usually Pabrinex) by injection, many people prefer to receive this through a cannula. This is a small tube which is inserted into a vein, and means that delivering your medication is more comfortable as there's no need for regular injections.

In addition, you will also be offered sessions in which you can explore the psychological reasons behind your alcohol misuse (these are known as 'psychosocial interventions').

We believe that psychosocial interventions are an invaluable aid to recovery – these sessions are offered when it will be of greatest benefit, and not according to a rigid schedule.

Our own in-house consultant-led psychiatric liaison service provides psychiatric assessment and deal with referrals for advice, assistance and formal requests for psychiatric opinions and diagnosis.

We also offer immediate, on-site access to medical tests, and to a range of experts in nutrition, therapies, medicines and counselling.

Your journey

Your stay with us begins with a comprehensive assessment. This helps us to understand your specific physical, as well as any mental health, needs. We'll also talk about your social situation. This ensures your care can be individually planned and tailored to you, whilst at Avonbourne and after you leave.

It's important that you know what will happen during your stay. When you arrive you will meet your named specialist nurse who will discuss each step with you.

Our specialist nurses are on hand to answer questions and address any concerns you may have throughout your stay.

You will see members of our nursing team several times each day, as well as a daily visit by one of our senior doctors.

How long you stay with us depends on you and your treatment needs – some people leave after a week, others require longer on Avonbourne.

Planning for when you leave Avonbourne begins as soon as you join us, so you'll have plenty of time to discuss what will happen and to ask any questions you may have. We work closely with community care coordinators and keyworkers, and encourage them to visit you while you are with us. We work together to create a care plan that's right for you, and to ensure you have the right support in place once you leave us.

Depending on where you live, our own community outreach team can also visit you once you leave. Working with a range of partner organisations, the team provides ongoing intensive support - as much or as little as you may need - and can help you to develop new interests and skills. Ask your keyworker if you qualify.

Meet the senior team

Dr Nick Sharer BSc, DM, FRCP

Consultant physician and gastroenterologist, and Avonbourne lead clinician

Dr Sharer specialises in treating a range of medical conditions related to alcohol use, and has worked at Poole Hospital for nearly 20 years. Dr Sharer trained as a general physician and gastroenterologist/hepatologist in Portsmouth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Manchester.

Graeme White Registered Mental Health Nurse, PgDip (Addiction Studies)

Head of addiction services

Graeme has more than 20 years' experience in supporting patients with a range of addictions and associated ill health. He leads our alcohol care and treatment services team at Poole Hospital.

Graeme has worked in numerous areas in the field of addiction treatment including primary care, secondary community-based care and secondary inpatient care.

Geoffrey Walker OBE MA, RGN, PgDip, DipEd, FAETC

Matron, Avonbourne

Geoffrey has senior responsibility for the nursing aspects of care on Avonbourne, as well as for medical services provided elsewhere at Poole Hospital. He has more than 30 years' experience in nursing, and was named the British Journal of Nursing's UK Nurse of the Year in 2013. In 2009 he was honoured with an OBE for services to nursing.

Working together

We understand the value of wider support during your stay at Avonbourne, in addition to that given by our doctors, nurses and other specialists. Friends, family, support workers and carers based outside the hospital are all encouraged to visit you during your stay.

Our central location in Poole and great public transport and road links mean getting to Avonbourne is simple.

Our successes

Our philosophy of care and wide range of medical, nursing, therapeutic and other specialist services offers you the very best opportunity to lead a healthier and fulfilled life without alcohol.

To date, 100 per cent of all patients successfully completed their treatment programme and went on to receive further services in the community.

Your views matter, which is why we ask all Avonbourne patients to complete a short survey about their time here. In a recent survey:

  • 100 per cent of people said they felt listened to
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 said they were pleased with the explanation of their treatment options
  • More than 8 out of 10 were happy with how much they were involved in decisions about their treatment
  • More than two thirds said their stay had had a positive impact on their recovery.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about Avonbourne and our inpatient alcohol withdrawal services, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0300 019 2871, or speak to your keyworker.

If you are a health or social care professional and would like further information on referring to Avonbourne, or to arrange an informal visit, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0300 019 2871.

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