City of Lakes FHT receives grant to research use of psychoactive drugs

June 04, 2018

The Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association (NOAMA) has awarded the COLFHT a $50,000 research grant to address inappropriate or overuse of benzodiazepines. NOAMA is the governance organization responsible for administering the Ministry of Health and OMA negotiated NOSM Academic Funding Plan to support the development of new and innovative approaches in health care delivery, and to support leadership in the dissemination of knowledge across the healthcare system. Physicians in Northern Ontario have the opportunity to access these funds to support their research or investigation of new and creative methodologies for health care delivery, or knowledge dissemination. Dr. Tom Crichton and Nurse Practitioner, Robyn Gorham, are the Project Leads.

Insomnia is the single most commonly reported health problem in adults and the research will address inappropriate or overuse of benzodiazepines. Physicians at the FHT have embraced the current best practice recommendations and are taking a targeted look at the use of benzodiazepines and z-drugs as sleep aids in the elderly, and are discontinuing or reducing the dose as appropriate in consultation with the patient.

The purpose of this research is to determine if there are any measurable changes to the timed-up-and-go (TUG), which are validated measures of overall function, and frail scale following these medication changes. To support this work, the COLFHT hosted a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia Practitioner’s workshop in partnership with the Northeast Specialized Geriatric Centre. In addition to hands-on training in the basics of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia, the workshop covered whether adjustments to CBT may be necessary in the context of medical and mental health, as well as geriatric patients.