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What ABI Providers Should Know about Substance Use and Brain Injury

The Toronto ABI Network hosted a full day workshop on June 5th, 2015 at Grasett Hall, St. John’s Rehab – Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  The workshop was an outstanding, sold out event that was attended by 65 health care professionals working in acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, brain injury associations, CCAC and a variety of other community service agencies.  Attendees came from all over the Toronto and GTA as well as Sudbury, Hamilton and Ottawa.  

Designed by Dr. Carolyn Lemsky, Neuropsychologist and Clinical Director at Community Head Injury Resource Services (CHIRS), this workshop was intended for providers of brain injury services interested in making their services more effective for people who are living with brain injury and who have a history of problematic substance use and/or those who continue to use substances.   Presentations were also led by Dennis James, Director of Programs at Renascent; Lynn Hillman, Senior Manager of the Concurrent Disorders Support Services and Roby Miller, Behaviour Therapist at CHIRS.

The day’s content included:

  • Stigma and substance use
  • The demographics of substance use and brain injury
  • Recommended best practices ( including the Stage of Change Model, Harm Reduction and Motivational Interview)
  • Core skills for providers, including screening for substance use disorders, providing patient education, and learning how to partner with substance use 
  • Recommendations for program policies and ethical issues

We wish to thank the speakers for sharing their time and expertise to make the day a great success!

For presentations, click HERE