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Odyssey House Wins Award to Provide Peer-Run Services for Older Adults

Odyssey House has received a $445,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health to implement a peer mentoring track for older adults (Serving Older Adults Recovery System, or SOARS), based out of the Bronx-based Outpatient Services program. SOARS will allow Odyssey House to provide case management services and improve access to community-based recovery resources for up to 90 ElderCare clients over 14-16 months. The grant was awarded through the New York State Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) Innovation Fund.

There are growing demands for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment for older adults. Emergency Department (ED) admissions for illicit drugs and alcohol have been steadily increasing for the last several years among this population. From 2004 to 2010, the number of ED visits for drug use and misuse has grown 187% for adults ages 55-64 and 104% for those ages 65 and older. These data, coupled with national surveys that show older adults suffer the most from depression, isolation, and chronic medical conditions, point to the need for a program which addresses SUD recovery in the context of overall physical and mental health.

The SOARS program will deliver a continuum of support services for older adults utilizing both intensive case management and peer-based recovery coaching. Odyssey House Case Managers will work one-on-one with clients as they transition out of residential treatment, connecting them to community-based services to help them remain out of institutional care. In addition, clients will be paired with a volunteer Recovery Coach, who will serve as a peer mentor to assist in identifying and engaging in community based recovery supports. The SOARS program will strengthen the continuum of care, complementing the current ElderCare substance use disorder (SUD) treatment program operated by Odyssey House and serving to expand Odyssey House Recovery Oriented Care System (OH ROCS).

Dr. Peter Provet, president of Odyssey House, said, “We’re pleased to be able to build on the success of our OH ROCS program and extend our peer-based recovery services to older adults where they need them most – in their own community.”

The goal of this project is to facilitate and expand older adults’ access to community-based Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) and ongoing support through the utilization of intensive case management and peer recovery coaching. The expected outcomes from this project are to: keep older adults residing in their homes in the community; increase engagement in the recovery process; improve retention; reduce depression and drug use during and after treatment; and improve social connectedness, quality of life, and self-image.

The New York State BIP Innovation Fund supports projects that help mitigate barriers to communitybased Long Term Services and Supports to reach the maximum number of people, in the most integrated setting and cost effective manner. The focus of the BIP Innovation Fund is to:

  • Increase the number of individuals served in non-institutional settings;
  • Improve access to community-based LTSS services;
  • Ensure stakeholders have a dynamic role in creating service solutions that have a lasting impact on regional LTSS delivery system;

Promote provider expertise by offering opportunities to “think differently” about how to best address barriers in transitioning from institutional to community-based settings, or assisting individuals to remain living within their communities.

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