If you’re using, or plan to use, Soberlink as part of your clinical practice, it may relieve you to know that you won’t have to do a lot of guess work to get started. A group of doctors and treatment industry experts recently formed a panel to determine the most effective way to use Soberlink alcohol monitoring in a clinical setting.
In this series, we’ll look into the major decisions made by that expert panel and how those decisions will affect the way you use Soberlink. One element of the panel’s best-use recommendations is the appropriate number of scheduled tests each day.
“I should set my patient up with as many tests per day as possible to ensure sobriety.”
This is actually the biggest and most common mistake to make when setting up a daily test schedule for your patient. While it seems like you should test as much as possible, a schedule that includes more than 3 tests per day will likely become a source of anxiety and quickly intrude on the patient’s life.
Soberlink was designed as a tool to help form healthy habits while in recovery. Setting up a testing schedule is a way to establish an accountability structure that will help keep the patient on track. However, if you overwhelm the patient with required tests, this accountability structure can make the patient feel more criminal than clinical.
Because alcohol use disorders are most effectively treated with a chronic illness approach, the testing schedule needs to be sustainable for a long period of time. In fact, the consensus from the expert panel suggested that patients should use Soberlink for a minimum of one year post discharge from a treatment program. Treatment will likely be ongoing, and overwhelming patients with tests would be counterproductive.
The Expert Panel’s Recommendation
The panel came to unanimous consensus on a recommendation of 3 tests per day at the start of an outpatient program or continued-care program.
Further, in the interest of progress and growth, the panel agreed that the number of daily tests could be reduced to 2 tests after a period of favorable results.
In fact, the panel was so sure of this decision that it required the least amount of time
dedicated to discussion. The panel relied heavily on shared clinical experience within the industry and data about relapse rates after residential and outpatient treatment programs.
Using a 3 test per day schedule with Soberlink will cover more than half of a 24-hour period, including all likely waking hours. In addition to covering most of the day, those 3 tests will act as a psychological deterrent to any alcohol use that could occur between tests.
The panel also noted that if a patient’s circumstances were more challenging, such as an increased exposure to environmental triggers, a maximum of 4 tests per day would be acceptable. However, this should be reduced over time as attitudes and habits adjust.
The Bottom Line
Avoid needless anxiety and complication while keeping the recovery process as smooth as possible by beginning your Soberlink alcohol monitoring program with 3 tests per day and reducing to 2 tests per day after a period of favorable results. Keep in mind, with the expert recommendation of using Soberlink for a minimum of 12 months, it’s important to keep a schedule that is sustainable for a long period of time.
How to Use Soberlink Four-Part Series
- Part 1: Test Frequency and Program Duration
- Part 2: Random vs. Scheduled Testing
- Part 3: Responding to a Missed Test
- Part 4: The Appropriate Clinical Response to Positive Tests
About The Expert Panel & Consensus Paper
The expert panel was comprised of physicians and experts with extensive experience and current knowledge of alcohol use disorders and the addiction treatment industry. The expert panel was assembled to discuss and reach consensus on the best use of remote monitoring in a recovery setting. A paper of their findings was written and published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. All decisions made by the expert panel were reached by organic consensus and have been determined to be the absolute best practices when using the Soberlink alcohol monitoring.
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.