5 Key Components to a Treatment Plan with Alcohol Monitoring

May 11, 2014
5 Key Components to a Treatment Plan with Alcohol Monitoring

1. Establish a clear goal

What is the outcome? In the initial phases of setting up a monitoring plan, all the standard analysis and counseling should take place and goals should be set based on the unique needs and circumstances of each patient. The goals should be established in a collaborative environment or at least mutually agreed upon by both parties.

2. Provide instructions and expectations for achieving the goal

What are the rules and how does the patient follow them? To set the patient up for success, it is important for them to know how to adhere to the expectations of the alcohol monitoring. For example, the patient must know to avoid items that contain alcohol before testing in order to avoid false positives, most commonly being mouthwash. Standard deprivation period for any breathalyzer test is a 20 minute waiting period after drinking, eating, or smoking. The Soberlink Breathalyzer includes adaptive facial recognition, which requires that the participant hold the device at eye level with eyes open and without any facial obstruction. Testing frequency and monitoring contract length should be communicated. Non-compliant behavior should be outlined and may include missing a test, submitting a positive test, submitting a test late, obstructing the camera, etc.

3. Agree upon the involved parties and what gets shared

Who is involved and to what extent? For example, the patient may need to provide testing information to their employer. If a child custody case is involved, the testing information may need to be submitted to a court, divorce attorney, or the ex-spouse. Other loved ones may want to see the progress of the alcohol monitoring program. The patient and counselor would determine the method of reporting, whether the family has full access to the testing results or they are supplied with a daily/weekly/monthly report.

4. State contingencies if a non-compliant event occurs

What are the consequences? This is subjective to the circumstances of the patient and would stem from the information gathered in the initial consultation. Anything deemed “non-compliant” should have been clearly outlined within component #2. For each non-compliant event, there should be a direct and clear contingency. An example for a positive test result would be to retest within 30 minutes and continue retesting until BAC reaches 0.00. Based on data gathered, the positive result may be deemed an environmental exposure to alcohol rather than a drinking event, and the contingency would be different than a confirmed drinking event. A confirmed drinking event or a missed test may hold the contingency of involving family, increasing AA meetings, etc.

5. Construct a written contract that both parties sign, compiling all of the above components

Is the agreement mutual? It is important for the patient to feel in control of their monitoring plan or the testing will be seen as a consequence rather than a supportive measure. Creating each component should be a collaborative effort that results in a mutual contract that both parties sign (and perhaps the family/employer/lawyer). The patient should be provided with a copy as it represents their handbook for an effective monitoring plan. Samples of alcohol monitoring contracts specific to Soberlink monitoring can be obtained by contacting Soberlink.

About the Author

Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.

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