As the Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia at Ontario Shores my work is trying to improve the lives of people with a dementia diagnosis and supporting them, their families and everyone involved in caring for them to live as well as possible.
On Thursday, November 7, the Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) was front and centre at the hospital’s weekly Ground Rounds seminar.
Launched in 2007, the Clinic was specifically developed to maximize health and promote better overall health in people with mental illness by addressing the well-documented link between mental illness and an increased risk of physical health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
During his presentation at Ground Rounds, Jason Moores, Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic Coordinator, singled out of the issue of smoking as a contributing factor to poor health among people with mental illness.
Moores, who presented with Research Assistant Sahil Uppal, noted individuals with serious mental illness lose 25 or more years of life expectancy in comparison to the general population, while the average person with schizophrenia smokes 24 cigarettes a day and spends 27 per cent of their income on the purchase of tobacco products.
“The biggest misconception is that patients don’t care,” said Moores when addressing some of the challenges faced by the Clinic. “Patients are pushing back with a desire to do the right thing.”
The Clinic provides patients with accessible interprofessional services, support and education. Services include health assessments and screening, motivational counselling, individualized dietary and physical activity programming and medical and nursing management.
The support and treatment provided by the Clinic now extends beyond walls of the Whitby facility. The Clinic now utilizes the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to improve access and delivery of health care by removing geographic barriers.
In 2009, the MWM Clinic received the prestigious Canadian College of Health Service Executives (CCHSE) 3M Health Care Quality Team Award. This national award recognizes innovation, quality and team leadership, and Ontario Shores was recognized for identifying a significant gap in mental health patient care.
Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic
CAPTION: Jason Moores, Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic Coordinator, and Research Assistant Sahil Uppal, right, presented the latest information and data on the Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic at Ontario Shores’ Grand Rounds seminar on November 7.
On Thursday December 12, Dr. Evan Weizenberg, medical resident in Ontario Shores’ forensics program delivered a paradigm shaking presentation at Grand Rounds on the concept of Recovery.
“Patients of psychiatric services need more than symptom relief. Patients and users of our psychiatric system need recovery,” said Weizenberg.
The ‘Recovery’ concept is not understood in the same light by the system as it is by patients. This is true although the concept of recovery has become an ever present discussion topic by researchers, policy makers and mental health practitioners as they attempt to make programs more patient and consumer friendly.
Weizenberg suggested the gap in understanding recovery has a lot to do with the fact that even though recovery is currently being discussed in medical groups, the topic has already done the rounds over and over again within consumer circles. Most people speaking about recovery are not psychiatrists, but patients.
Patients are asking about recovery apart from medications to stabilize. Patients and mental health consumers are asking about how to practice recovery oriented care beyond the removal of symptoms. Patients understand recovery as a concept can be applied to the acutely unwell so they can experience whatever measures of personal recovery which work for them.
The disparity between the medical understanding and patient understanding of recovery is due to the different definitions used by both groups. Within the medical community recovery is viewed clinically, it is:
An idea that has emerged from the expertise of mental health professionals, and involves getting rid of symptoms, restoring social functioning, and in other ways ‘getting back to normal.’
Within the patient support community recovery is viewed as personal:
It is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.
Dr. Weizenberg explains that for patients recovery is a struggle that will involve risk taking with the right to succeed or fail as each individual attempts to exercise his/her own personal growth and understanding. Good mental health care will involve active engagement with the complex nature of mental health problems. As mental health workers, we will need to have a tolerance for the tangled nature of relationships and meanings and the ability to negotiate issues in a way that empowers service users.