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Emergency Department Recovery Coach


Provide additional value-added resources for Emergency Department patients wanting assistance with their substance use disorder.


A Recovery Coach is a trained personal guide or mentor for people who are either seeking or are engaged in the process of recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions. Recovery coaches do not provide clinical services; they provide the critical support or link to the services and supports that a person needs to achieve and sustain recovery.

Having immediate support when crisis occurs is a high priority for effective engagement with treatment, hence the focus of this project in bringing access to Recovery Coaches to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Emergency Department. When a patient presents for emergency care related to harmful use of substances and s/he expresses a desire for treatment or motivation for recovery, then services of a Recovery Coach will be activated as part of the treatment plan.

As with all of the SUMHI projects, this one also seeks to optimize an interdisciplinary approach to the complex array of mental health, physical health, and addiction supports and services.

Patients/populations impacted

  • Emergency room patients in crisis and expressing need for help with substance use

Process/systems being improved

  • Integration of Emergency Services and Recovery supports
  • Screening tools and practices
  • Evidence-based addiction treatment
  • Alignment with community resources on shared goals

Provider teams involved

  • Emergency Department
  • Community Recovery Coaches

Economics of care

  • Emergency Department visit reduction and Emergency Department operations efficiency

Project Team


  • Kevin Curtis, MD, MS is an Emergency Department physician and Associate Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He also serves as Medical Director of teleEmergency services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon NH.
  • Janet Carroll, RN, CEN, SANE-A is an Emergency Department nurse.


  • Aita Romaine

Learning and data

Program data tracking:

  • Number of times a Recovery Coach is called
  • Level of patient and/or family engagement with the Recovery Coach
  • 30-day follow-up
  • Emergency Department team feedback
  • Missed opportunities

Summary of Recovery Coach Program Pilot Process in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Emergency Department (PDF)