HRI research findings featured at national addiction conference

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HRI research findings were featured in three presentations at a national conference hosted in Calgary, Alberta by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) in November. The Issues of Substance Conference brings together addiction experts, policy makers and researchers to mobilize knowledge in the addiction field to address substance use in Canada. HRI was pleased to share updates and findings from three major projects currently underway.

Recovery Monitoring

Dr. Jean Costello, Research and Evaluation Scientist, and Courtney Ropp, Research Associate, were selected to speak about HRI’s Recovery Monitoring System. Launched as a pilot project at Homewood Health Centre in 2015, Recovery Monitoring involves the routine collection of data from patients discharged from Homewood’s Addiction Medicine Service for up to one year post-discharge to measure and assess outcomes and better understand the process of recovery.

The Recovery Monitoring System is unique in Canada and provides a thorough, ongoing and quantifiable understanding of what happens once patients are discharged from residential care. Data can be used to evaluate program effectiveness, inform quality improvements and enhance mental health and addiction policies in Canada and beyond.

HRI’s presentation focused on key findings at one year post-discharge, including changes in quality of life, social engagement, occupational performance and life satisfaction.

Patients’ Perceptions of Care

In collaboration with Homewood Health Centre and well-known mental health and addiction scientist, Dr. Brian Rush, HRI is conducting research that examines how a patient’s experience or perception of care during addiction treatment impacts recovery-oriented outcomes after discharge.

Currently there is little evidence within the Canadian addiction service field about the link between a patient’s experience and their outcomes, but HRI is working to change this.

As part of the Recovery Monitoring System implemented in the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood Health Centre, HRI collects information about a patient’s experience during treatment. Using a standardized evidence-based tool, data is collected at the time of discharge, and again at one month post-discharge, to shed light on the relationship between perceptions of care and post-discharge outcomes in residential care.

A poster presentation at the CCSA conference outlined early findings from HRI’s research, which show that a more positive perception of care at discharge predicts greater adherence to treatment recommendations after discharge, as well as improvements in recovery outcomes such as motivation and quality of life. These findings suggest that the patient experience may have a significant impact on recovery and should be monitored regularly.

Universal Screening

HRI Senior Scientist, Dr. James MacKillop, shared findings from a project that involved screening patients who have been diagnosed with addiction for a secondary – or comorbid – diagnosis of trauma. The study focused on individuals receiving care in an inpatient treatment setting and involved more 500 participants in the Addiction Medicine Service (AMS) at Homewood Health Centre.

Dr. MacKillop’s study provided important insights into the prevalence and severity of comorbid addiction and trauma within the AMS patient population. Specifically, half of the participants reported a significant history of trauma, and a higher number of females (56%) met the threshold for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as compared to males (48%).

These findings reveal the importance of screening for comorbid disorders to better inform each patient’s care plan during inpatient treatment.

Dr. MacKillop’s presentation also highlighted the potential for improved care that can result when academic researchers and treatment providers work together more closely.