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Health Innovation Award for Patient-Centred Care – Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

Addictions Foundation of Manitoba 2019 Award Winners

Eaglewood Withdrawal Management Group

Before coming in for addictions treatment, clients may have to pass through a withdrawal unit before they are stable enough in body and mind for more complex therapeutic work. Lori Walsh, from AFM’s northern in-house treatment facility in Thompson, identified that clients coming from their withdrawal unit had difficulty staying engaged in the recovery process and transitioning well into treatment.

A group was developed to ensure clients in the withdrawal unit were receiving evidenced-based group activities and interpersonal support while dealing with withdrawal issues. Activities included: Mindfulness and Meditation, Coping Skills and Education, and grounding in the Here and Now Process. This initiative improved access to quality care, increased client engagement, and improved retention rates in the withdrawal unit.
Since lack of programming in withdrawal units is a problem in other cities as well, it is the hope of this group that their model will be adopted in other facilities.

Life Story Board: Innovative Visual Interview Tool in Health Care

This initiative began as a medical research project to study the efficacy of a novel interview tool to help clients tell their story. Verbal interviews are routinely used in the settings of mental health and addictions treatment. Barriers of literacy, culture, sensitive disclosure, poor client engagement and attention can frequently interfere. The Life Story Board (LSB) uses a visual board to accompany conversation to help elicit information, enhance sharing, and confer insight in ways not achievable by verbal means alone.

Across three pilot sites, the use of the LSB was seen as favourable by both clients and counsellors. Themes of client experiences included new insight or self-awareness, recognizing how they could see and relate to their life in a visual way, and that they felt supported in sharing their experiences. Counsellors felt that clients appeared to have an easier time sharing with respect to their barriers, that it increased client insight, and that clients felt in control of the process. The findings support the idea that in mental health and addictions treatment settings, the LSB can play a positive role in client engagement, expression, and information sharing, and therefore may be beneficial to their outcomes.

Given the positive results, leadership at AFM Men’s Services purchased LSB kits and is offering this tool to clients, as appropriate. They continue to report positive feedback back on this tool and AFM is exploring the expansion of the tool into other programs.

Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s Trauma-Informed Care Initiative

The role of trauma in substance use and addiction is well established and it is important for all staff in the addictions field, both non-clinical and clinical, to receive adequate training. Trauma-informed care is an evidence-based and client-centred approach to enhancing quality of care across systems. When all levels of staff have an understanding of the impact of trauma and are better equipped to respond appropriately, the experience of the client is honoured, respected and supported.

In collaboration with the marketing and communications firm Changemakers, a multidisciplinary team from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) developed a comprehensive online trauma-informed care training program for over 700 staff from the Manitoba Addiction Agencies Network (MAAN). The online format ensured timely delivery and enhanced accessibility to this comprehensive training across the province.
The training has also been expanded to over 300 additional staff in other fields including mental health, primary care, and justice where the need for more trauma-informed education has been identified.

Addictions Foundation of Manitoba 2019 Award Nominees

David Mansell of AFM’s Willard Monson House

David Mansell was nominated for his active engagement in redeveloping the format and structure of one of AFM’s in-house treatment centres. David has worked effectively in strengthening team and affiliate relationships, while improving access to those seeking service through the intake process, and redesigning programming within the facility. David has introduced new interventions and methods to complement and enhance traditional program material.

David has been diligent in developing a working environment among staff and team members that is cohesive and supportive. In developing stronger relationships that support effective communication, team members are able to work closely with clients and agencies outside of the AFM in order to provide greater support and resources to best assist clients. The initiative has resulted in access to services and more effective programming to enhance residential treatment experiences, providing increased opportunities to succeed in recovery. The initiative has also strived to enhance staff productivity, increased workplace moral, incentives to succeed, and manageable workloads.

AFM’s Spiritual Health Committee

In 2012, AFM’s Board of Directors affirmed the importance of spirituality as an essential aspect of health and supported the incorporation of spiritual elements into the understanding of AFM’s biopsychosocial model of addiction. Addiction affects the whole person. Clients may start to heal the physical, deal with the mental and emotional aspects of their lives, and build healthier communities, but they often do not consider the significance of the spiritual aspect of their recovery. Because many people’s recovery efforts have benefited from identifying their own unique understanding of life’s meaning and purpose, it is safe to conclude that spiritual health can be an important component of recovery. The best practices research behind this concept is widespread.

The Spiritual Health Working Group developed a Facilitator Resource Guide which serves as a manual for AFM staff to address the issue of spirituality with clients in a comfortable, non-judgmental manner. A Spirituality Resource Guide has been introduced to all AFM programs and a webinar on how to use this resource guide took place in June 2019. The Spiritual Health Working Group is currently working on a similar webinar for Manitoba Addiction Agencies Network staff and a recording of this webinar will be placed on the online learning platform (Moodle) for MAAN staff to access.

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