Alcohol Related Brain Damage

What is ARBD

ARBD Living AreaARBD ( Alcohol Related Brain Damage) is the term that is used to describe a range of symptoms such as: difficulty remembering, difficulty concentrating, feeling confused, irritated, or having difficulty making choices and decisions. It is important to remember that with the right care, support and treatment people with ARBD can make a significant recovery.

Penumbra Milestone: step down unit for people with ARBD

Penumbra Milestone is a step down unit for people with ARBD who no longer require medical intervention yet they are currently in an acute hospital setting and cannot go directly home with support.

Through the provision of intensive, multidisciplinary support and treatment the unit will:

  1. improve outcomes for people with ARBD who are in acute hospital in Lothian, and
  2. reduce the number of days that people with ARBD spend in acute hospital settings despite no longer requiring acute medical care.

The unit will provide re-enablement support to people for up to 12 weeks.

Penumbra, a third sector organisation will manage the 10 bedded unit, there will also be NHS staff providing in-reach support (physical, psychiatrist, psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist and community substance misuse nurses.) There is social work support also.


To speak to the Manager at Penumbra contact:

Lesley Forbes
Penumbra Milestone
113 Oxgangs Road North
EH14 1EB
Telephone: 0131 441 5778

To speak with the lead consultant and first point of contact for the Multidisciplinary Team contact:

Dr Claire Gordon 


ARBD Garden

New unit opens for patients with alcohol related brain damage

From 11th August a new residential service opens at Milestone for patients with A.R.B.D. The unit will provide rehabilitation & support to 10 residents for up to 12 weeks.

Referral Criteria

Patients will be considered for referral if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Is currently a patient in an acute hospital within NHS Lothian and is medically stable.
  2. Has completed the detoxification process and is no longer requiring any form of sedation.
  3. Has been assessed and given a diagnosis of ARBD (see diagnostic criteria attached).
  4. Is current resident in Lothian.

Patients will not be considered for referral should one of the following exclusion criteria be applicable:

  1. Ongoing acute medical needs including alcohol/drug detoxification or intravenous therapy.
  2. Lacking capacity and refusing admission/transfer to the unit.
  3. Unable to mobilise and requiring hoist transfer or significant assistance.
  4. Patients who have moderate dysphagia requiring a texture modified diet that can't be mashed at ward level

(National Descriptors B,C and D - as described in the Dysphagia Diet Food Texture Descriptors April 2011 NPSA, BDA and CSLT)

Referral Process – for NHS Lothian clinicians (logged in to the NHS Lothian network) please click here http://intranet/nhslothian/healthcare/a-z/alcoholrelatedbraindamageservices

Penumbra is a leading Scottish Voluntary organisation working in the field of mental health. We provide an extensive range of person-centred support services for adults and young people.

We also campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the social stigma attached to them. We also provide training and consultancy on a range of issues related to mental health and well-being.

ARBD BedroomAt Penumbra Milestone we have recovery practitioners, occupational therapists, community nurses, psychologists and Doctor available to support you. We will also work with wide range ordinary, community resources that are available to you in the area that plan to live. We will help you plan for your future with I-ROC and with our HOPE toolkit. We will provide you with 1:1 support and you can also participate in our well-being workshops that help you learn how to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Milestone House is alcohol free and will help you focus on Healthy Living.

Click here to go to Penumbra’s website if you are currently an inpatient with the RIE, WGH or St Johns hospital an information pack, including photos that patients and relatives may find helpful, is available in the 3 hospital sites from:

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Name: Billie Morrow, Clinical Nurse Manager
Ward: 208
Telephone: Ext: 22081 or 0131 242 2081

Western General Hospital

Name: Helen Fox, Charge Nurse
Ward: 25 and 26
Telephone: Ext: 32354 or 0131 537 2354

St Johns Hospital – to be confirmed

Name: Vivien McKay, Clinical Nurse Manager
Ward: General Medicine
Telephone: Ext: 53820 or 01506 523920

General Information Leaflets

Last Reviewed: 11/02/2016