Jewish Home Lifecare, based in New York City, is initiating the country’s first geriatric substance abuse program based in a nursing home setting. The new model seeks to integrate substance abuse education and addiction recovery with the traditional post-acute care services delivered in the post-acute care setting—including an ongoing support system that includes experienced caregivers and the senior’s own family.
"The Jewish Home Lifecare Geriatric Substance Abuse Recovery Program tackles a problem faced every day by our clinicians and by geriatric healthcare specialists around the country. With this integrated approach, we can offer truly comprehensive care to older patients dealing with both medical and substance abuse problems," said Gregory Poole-Dayan, associate administrator of Jewish Home Lifecare’s Bronx campus, in a press release.
The program combats a crucial problem in the hospital/post-acute referral process: Many post-acute facilities are not equipped for or willing to accept older people who have known substance abuse issues. Local hospitals that refer seniors to Jewish Home Lifecare will be tapped for coordination of substance abuse support services during transfers—New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center already have partnered with the effort.
The program also acknowledges the growing problem of seniors who have become addicted to prescription medications during lengthy rehabilitation or chronic illnesses. Multiple prescriptions and addiction can exacerbate cognitive diseases, falls risks, depression and other issues common for older adults. Even after a short-term stay in a rehab facility, post-acute patients can ultimately return home with their physical problems resolved but their addictions intact, making relapse likely and creating an endless and costly cycle of readmission, notes the press release.
Jewish Home expects to serve 720 older adults during the initial two-year pilot. From then on, the program could deliver services to more than 480 seniors annually.