Virtual Help for People with Substance Use Disorders


Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has another tool to help people with substance abuse addictions, thanks to a donation from the Solcz Family Foundation.

It donated $350,000 so the hospital can add "Breaking Free Online", a virtual care solution by the Ontario Telemedicine Network.

The program will be available in 2020 to clients at the hospital and will then be rolled out to other local service providers.

It helps with early intervention, prevention and rehab through online programs, eliminating the need to attend in-person sessions.

Vice President of Mental Health and Addiction Services Sonja Grabevsky says additional staff will not be added.

"At this point of time, it's not necessarily more staffing but it is augmentation for the clinicians to be able to use in addition to the actual interventions, the face to face or group type settings," says Grabevsky.

Sonja Grabevsky says the program will be used through smart devices.

"Definitely an app through a phone," says Grabevsky.  "It's computer web based so you'll be able to link in using a computer.  We just need to get a little more creative in terms of how we're going to be able to get access to individuals who may not have either a computer or some kind of smart device."       

Hospital CEO Janice Kaffer says the online tool can 'be used in conjunction with clinical support.'

- with files from Peter Langille & Rob Hindi