Opioid Use Disorder & Pain Management in Older Adults

Every Tuesday, 8:00-9:00 AM

Adults over 65 years of age are at higher risk of experiencing chronic pain and adverse events from opioids and opioid use disorder (OUD). Older adults are more likely to inadequately report their pain due to age-related health, which may lead to under-treatment of pain. In the last two decades, opioid prescriptions to treat chronic pain among older adults increased at a rate of nine times what it was previously. This surge is accompanied with a drastic increase of older adults visiting emergency departments due to opioid abuse, misuse, overdose, and addictions to heroin and cocaine. In consequence, chronic pain, opioids, and OUD have become a major crisis in the United States among older adults.

ECHO-Chicago Principal Investigators have developed an 8-week curriculum to offer more geriatric clinical content and EHR updates with real-world cases. Each session will include didactic topics delivered by an interdisciplinary team of content experts, and two 15-minute problem-solving exercises using real-world cases brought by participating PCPs. Didactic content will include education on the demographics of pain and OUD, special considerations for pain management (e.g., cognitive impairment, functional impairment, social determinants, and caregivers), principles of SDM and assessing patient preferences, pharmacology and pain medications, non-pharmacologic pain management options, and recognition and management of OUD.

Topics for Case-Based Learning and Discussion Include:

  • Pain assessment
  • OUD screening & diagnosis
  • OUD treatment
  • Special considerations for pain management in older adults (cognition, function, SDOH, caregivers)
  • Non-pharmacologic pain treatments
  • Pain medicine selection, titration, substitution, and tapering
  • Behavioral health and pain psychology
  • Opioid Prescribing


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Topic Specialists

Katherine Thompson, M.D.

Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the University of Chicago and a national leader in geriatrics and medical education initiatives

Mim Ari, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, University of Chicago 

Stacie Levine, MD

Director of Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program & Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago

George Weyer, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago 

Case Presentation Schedule

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