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The study "FIRE" investigates an early intervention for direct access to rehabilitation in acute care.

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Early intervention for direct access to rehabilitation for addicts in acute care

Across Germany, about 3% of the population suffers from alcohol addiction, which is often associated with social problems, subsequent diseases and premature mortality. This results in considerable social expenses.

The treatment services for addiction in Germany are fragmented. Acute medical withdrawal treatment is paid for by the Health Insurance Funds. Subsequent longer-term withdrawal treatment (medical rehabilitation) for people in employment is usually paid for by the Pension Insurance. In order to apply for rehabilitation, a so called social report is required, for which the person affected has to visit an addiction counselling centre on his or her own.

In practice, only 5 % to 30 % of those affected apply for rehabilitation after withdrawal treatment, depending on the studies. However, withdrawal treatment is of great importance to ensure the success of treatment and to avoid multiple acute inpatient treatments and "revolving door effects".


The aim of the project is to motivate people during detoxification treatment in an acute hospital to start inpatient withdrawal treatment as soon as possible after the detoxification measure. For this purpose, target group-specific social counselling is carried out by external social workers based on motivational interviewing. An immediate application for rehabilitation can be made, using a shortened application procedure and a medical-psychotherapeutic report instead of the extensive social report.

Methodologically, a mixed-methods approach is followed: In addition to examining the utilisation rate of detoxification treatments within one year after detoxification, interviews with patients and social workers as well as with staff of the acute hospitals and the participating pension insurance providers will be conducted in the sense of a process evaluation in order to gain insights into the feasibility, feasibility and acceptance of the model project.

Project duration

01/2020 – 12/2024


  • German Pension Insurance Knappschaft-Bahn-See
  • German Pension Insurance Saarland
  • German Pension Insurance Rhineland
  • German Pension Insurance Westphalia
  • MEDIAN Kliniken Daun & Tönnisstein
  • Krankenhaus Westfalen, Krankenhaus Lüttgendortmund
  • Knappschaftsklinikum Saar; Kliniken Sulzbach & Püttlingen
  • St. Franziskus-Hospital Köln
  • Rhein-Mosel-Fachklinik Andernach
  • Verbundkrankenhaus Linz-Remagen
  • LVR-Klinik Bonn

Principal investigator

Prof. Dr. phil. Karla Spyra

Head of the Rehabilitation Department