HRI evaluation studies are receiving national and international attention

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HRI is working with Homewood Health Centre clinicians and patients to develop a rigorous approach to program evaluation to guide improved treatment and enhance outcomes.  This evaluation work has started in the Addiction Medicine Service (AMS), in collaboration with AMS leaders Dr. Harry Vedelago and Wendi Woo and the patients they serve.

This article highlights initial findings by describing two presentations made at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) and the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM), which attracted experts from more than 30 countries to Montreal from October 20 to 23. There is also a link below to a related paper HRI published in the Canadian Journal of Addiction.

James MacKillop

The first CSAM-ISAM paper was presented by Homewood Senior Scientist, Dr. James MacKillop, who is Boris Chair in Addictions Research, Director of the Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.

To improve our understanding of links between substance use and trauma among patients admitted to the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood Health Centre, he systematically screened 540 patients. A high proportion of these patients reported traumatic life events. Dr. MacKillop’s ongoing research program will clarify the relationship between trauma and substance use, and how to use the emerging findings to improve personalized care and to guide program development based on a deeper understanding of the needs of individual patients and the population of patients served by the program.

Sarah Sousa

At the CSAM-ISAM meeting, HRI Senior Research Coordinator, Sarah Sousa, delivered a presentation entitled Development and Early Findings from the Homewood Post-Discharge Outcome Monitoring System in the Addiction Medicine Service.  Homewood and HRI are jointly developing this ground-breaking system to understand recovery and to measure treatment outcomes.

This research, done in collaboration with Dr. Brian Rush as well as Homewood clinicians and patients, will be used to inform clinical practice in the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood Health Centre and provide a model for outcome monitoring. In her presentation, Sarah introduced Homewood’s outcome monitoring protocol, which involves a series of self-reported questionnaires administered to patients at admission to Homewood Health Centre, at discharge, and again at one month, three months, six months and 12 months post-discharge.

Over the past 1.5 years, HRI has engaged approximately 700 patients in the initiative. Preliminary findings based on 167 patients who provided data at admission, and again at one month post-discharge, show that they experienced very encouraging overall improvements, both in terms of abstinence and in several life domains, such as mental health, physical health, occupational performance and quality of life. We will report more detailed outcome information in future newsletters.

HRI’s Post-Discharge Monitoring System will continue to examine and deepen our understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of inpatient addiction and mental health treatment.

Recently Dr. Jean Costello, HRI Research and Evaluation Scientist, and her colleagues published a peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Journal of Addiction detailing the development and implementation of HRI’s Outcome Monitoring System at Homewood. This paper appeared in a Special Issue of the journal, Co-Edited by Dr. Brian Rush, who collaborates in the development of the outcome evaluation system, and Dr. Costello.

We are grateful to the Homewood Addiction Medicine Service patients and clinical staff, especially Dr. Harry Vedelago and Wendi Woo, and to Dr. Rush for their collaboration in this work.