4th Annual Research Day Focuses on the Role of Patients in Recovery

The patient voice is essential on the journey of recovery for people living with mental illness, says André Picard, noted health journalist and media personality who was a keynote speaker at the 4th annual Research Day at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores). 

Picard’s emphasis reminds the healthcare sector to set priorities together with patients.  “You will never get the right priorities if patients are not involved,” says Picard.

With the theme “Advancing Recovery Research: Patients, Partnerships and Peers”, the day saw heavy focus placed on the importance of clinical teams  working together with patients and their families to develop a care plan in the treatment of mental illness.

“This theme fits in quite nicely with the core focus here at Ontario Shores, where our care models target a holistic patient-centred approach. This shared journey promotes inclusion and empowerment of patients and their peer support as well as offers treatment options that are tailored to the individual needs of patients and support their well-being,” says Karim Mamdani, President and CEO at Ontario Shores.

Research Day 2015 continued the tradition of bringing together some of the best scientific, academic and medical minds working in mental health care to continue sharing the latest learnings and best practices for treating mental illness. 

This year, a second keynote John Hirdes spoke about the standardized interRAI assessments which allow for a streamlined approach to the diagnoses and care plans for mental illness. The interRAI assessment instruments provide continuity of care through a common language across health care sectors.

Standardized evidence based recovery guidelines and care plans support autonomy and take into account individual strengths and preferences.  There are now ten provinces and territories using interRAI mental health instruments with 1.5 million Canadians assessed in person by 2014.

Attendance and participation from both presenters and professionals continued to climb at this year’s conference with a wide range of topics and poster presentations offered.  Sessions ranged from exploring how adverse childhood experiences affects recovery in a forensic mental health facility to the partnership between patients and the clinical team; and the effect of voice simulation in building empathy for those who hear voices. 

The day was an endorsement of the innovative approach to mental health care where clinical best practices and evidence-based care is built on the valuable information, guidelines and competencies gained through research activities.

Special thanks to Longwoods Publishing, and the Continuing Professional Development in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto for their support in hosting Research Day 2015 at Ontario Shores.