Objective: This study was part of the Primary Care Research in Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the Elderly study (PRISM-E) and determined the relative effectiveness of two different models of care for reducing at-risk alcohol use among primary care patients aged 65 and older.
Methods: This multisite study was a randomized clinical trial comparing integrated care with enhanced specialty referral for older primary care patients screened and identified to have at-risk drinking.
Results: Before the study, the 560 participants consumed a mean of 17.9 drinks per week and had a mean of 21.1 binge episodes in the prior three months. At six months, both treatment groups reported lower levels of average weekly drinking (p<.001) and binge drinking (p<.001), despite low levels of treatment engagement. However, the declines did not differ significantly between treatment groups.
Conclusions: These results suggest that older persons with at-risk drinking can substantially modify their drinking over time. Although no evidence suggested that the model of care was important in achieving this result, the magnitude of reduction in alcohol use was comparable with other intervention studies.