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Managing Opioid Use and Misuse in Older Adults


  • Managing opioid use among older adults has received little attention.
  • Project includes environmental scan, survey, compendium of strategies, learning collaboratives.
  • Abt offers tools/resources to improve pain management for older adults.
The Challenge

Older adults are twice as likely as the general population to have pain, and clinicians often rely on opioid treatment. As a result, opioid use, misuse, and opioid use disorder have increased among older adults, who are vulnerable to adverse reactions due to changes in metabolism, comorbidities, and drug interactions. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded Abt and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute a contract to test PCP strategies for managing pain and opioid use in older adults.

The Approach

The Abt team will perform an environmental scan, publish a Federal Registry Notice (FRN) and interview exemplar practices to identify innovative practices, and conduct a national survey of providers who treat older adults. The team will develop a compendium of strategies comprising tools and resources identified from the environmental scan, FRN responses, and interviews with exemplar practices. The team will support two sequential, 15-month learning collaboratives of PCPs that will implement and test tools and resources from the compendium.