Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Testing an Innovative Model for Geriatric Substance Use Addiction Treatment

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

March 13, 2020


Finger Lakes





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, NYHealth 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 implemented a comprehensive model that integrates substance use intervention, including home-based supportive counseling for families and caregivers, with care management services. Lifespan’s model expanded care coordination services by engaging clients, caregivers, social workers, health professionals, and community health workers through a shared care plan. Care team members scheduled and attended health care appointments with the patient; coordinated transportation; ensured access to preventive health screenings; conducted medication reconciliations; provided health literacy training; and ensured a closed loop of communication among social services, primary care physicians, and specialists. Lifespan also partnered with the New York Academy of Medicine to evaluate the model and develop a roadmap for statewide replication.