Testing an Innovative Model for Geriatric Substance Use Addiction Treatment
Special Projects Fund
March 13, 2020
Substance misuse has a unique impact on the health of older adults.
Substance misuse accelerates age-related changes to the brain and the progression of chronic diseases, as well as increases older adults’ risk for falls, fractures, and other emergencies. This in turn can lead to older adults’ high utilization of costly health care services. Surveys show that nearly 1 million adults over the age of 65 meet the diagnostic criteria for substance misuse. However, few community-based providers are aware of and prepared to address the prevalence of geriatric substance misuse and its interaction with chronic disease management. In 2020, NYSHealth awarded Lifespan of Greater Rochester a grant to pilot a model for treating geriatric addiction that aims to decrease substance misuse and improve health outcomes for older adults.
Under this grant, Lifespan will implement a comprehensive model that integrates substance use intervention, including home-based supportive counseling for families and caregivers, with care management services. Lifespan’s model will expand care coordination services by engaging clients, caregivers, social workers, health professionals, and community health workers through a shared care plan. Care team members will schedule and attend health care appointments with the patient; coordinate transportation; ensure access to preventive health screenings; conduct medication reconciliations; provide health literacy training; and ensure a closed loop of communication among social services, primary care physicians, and specialists. Lifespan will also partner with the New York Academy of Medicine to evaluate the model and develop a roadmap for statewide replication.