Does mental health and addiction treatment really work?
This is one of the most common questions that clinicians, patients and families have when considering admission to a treatment facility. And this is why HRI, in collaboration with Homewood Health Centre, has developed an outcome monitoring system – the first of its kind in Canada — to measure the outcomes of patients who receive treatment at the Health Centre. Through our research and evaluation studies, we aim to answer this question and – more importantly – to inform continuous improvement efforts in mental health and addiction treatment.
Treatment success can be measured in a number of ways. For patients seeking treatment in the Addiction Medicine Service (AMS) at Homewood Health Centre, one method is to examine how alcohol consumption changes over a defined period of time.
To do this, HRI has implemented a comprehensive outcome monitoring system in the AMS at the Health Centre. We collect and analyze data from patients who have agreed to complete questionnaires at the time of admission, again at discharge and at one, three, six and 12 months post-discharge. Patients who choose to participate answer questions relating to many different life domains, including substance use; psychological, physical, social, and occupational wellness; daily life functioning; engagement in continuing care activities; and overall quality of life or life satisfaction.
To generate initial findings about changes in alcohol consumption, we examined the percentage of days that participants abstained (PDA) from alcohol, comparing pre-treatment to post-treatment data in order to explore how drinking behaviours change from before admission to post-discharge.
The figure below (Figure 1) presents PDA from alcohol in the 90 days prior to admission and PDA in the past 30 days at each follow-up time-point. Participants who did not consume alcohol in the 90 days prior to treatment or in the past 30 days at a follow-up time point were considered 100 percent days abstinent.
Figure 1 shows that PDA from alcohol greatly increased from before treatment to one-month post-discharge (i.e., that participants reported consuming alcohol on significantly fewer days following treatment). PDA remained high at all subsequent follow-up time points.
These early findings represent data collected from AMS patients who participated in the outcome monitoring system in fiscal year 2016. Evaluations are ongoing and will be rolled out in other programs. A unique system in Canadian healthcare, HRI’s outcome evaluation project allows for continued, rigorous evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of mental health and addiction treatment at Homewood.
As HRI’s outcome monitoring evaluations advance, we will continue to share findings from other domains. If you would like to receive future research updates, please subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, HRI Connects.