Implementation and Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Geriatric Primary Care

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Objectives: We evaluated a plan for implementation and effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) in geriatric primary care by a geropsychologist. Methods: The flow of referrals to a geropsychologist was tracked and, among those eligible and interested in participating, success in deprescribing sleep medications and the effectiveness of CBT-I were documented. Results: Seventy patients were referred for evaluation of whom 62 were eligible for CBT-I; 34 began CBT-I and 29 completed a full course of treatment. Almost two-thirds of treatment completers were the “old old” (76–84 years) and “oldest old” (85–93 years) with multiple medical problems. Most treatment completers taking sleep medications had them deprescribed at the beginning of treatment and, one year after treatment, did not have them re-prescribed. After CBT-I, two-thirds of patients met the insomnia severity index criteria for response; and three-fifths for remission from insomnia. Further, most patients had sustained improvement in their target insomnia symptom(s) and sleep efficiency. Conclusions: CBT-I can be implemented in geriatric primary care with successful deprescribing of sleep medications and meaningful improvement in symptoms of insomnia in a group of older adults of advanced age with multiple medical problems. Clinical Implications: Clinical gerontologists can play an important role in improving late life insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024


  • Dissemination
  • deprescribing
  • evidence-based
  • psychotherapy


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