How mobile alcohol monitoring and continued care are working together to strengthen the recovery process and help patients build structure.
Chronic Alcoholism Requires Chronic Care
The Edgewood Health Network (EHN), with treatment centers and clinics across Canada and the US, assists those looking to embrace sobriety and recover from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. To support patients in recovery, EHN offers a range of services including residential inpatient and intensive outpatient programs, as well as continued-care programs which may involve group, individual, couple and family counseling, alcohol and drug monitoring, weekend workshops, and individualized plans.
Soberlink has developed powerful, handheld Breathalyzer Devices and intuitive monitoring software to help keep recovering people on the path to healthy recovery. Soberlink Cellular is a modern, discreet breathalyzer that transmits breath test results (BAC levels) directly to the secure Sober Sky Web Portal.
Continued-care programs like those at EHN were created to treat and care for recovering people after they leave a facility. Together, EHN and Soberlink have optimized the sobriety monitoring process for recovering people in continued care.
Studies show that patients who do not participate in continued-care programs are more likely to experience relapse.
Too often the mistaken perception is that alcoholism need only be addressed with inpatient treatment programs. While treatment facilities are an extraordinary springboard into sobriety, recovery doesn’t end when the person leaves. Alcoholism is classified as a chronic illness, meaning there is no cure. Chronic illnesses require ongoing care.
Traditional methods of alcohol detection, primarily urine tests, suffer from limitations in accuracy, sensitivity, and convenience that compromise their ability to identify substance abuse problems, discourage alcohol use, and document abstinence. In addition, those in recovery often report feeling dehumanized when they have to report for a test at a laboratory.
Previously, EHN had used traditional urine testing to supplement their continued-care program.
The facilities found it was difficult to get patients to go to a lab, there were problems with the chain of custody and discrepancies with lab results. Further, the results would take days to come in, meaning that EHN case managers lost valuable intervention time in the event of a possible relapse.
Soberlink Solutions in EHN Continued Care
Since 2013, the EHN clinics and their treatment center in Nanaimo have been successfully using Soberlink to supplement its continued-care program. The program typically recommends that patients remain on a monitoring plan for at least one year.
The automation offered by Soberlink technology has eliminated the need for costly urine testing. Now communication between patient and case manager is more effective than ever.
Soberlink’s real-time test results allow doctors and case managers to review BAC levels, assess situations, and quickly make decisions to best support the recovering person. Real-time results are crucial because a timely intervention can prove to be the next big phase in a patient’s recovery.
Patients are able to test anywhere, anytime due to the convenience of Soberlink breathalyzers. Modern technology gives patients a tangible reminder to stay committed to their program. At EHN, continued-care patients unanimously prefer the Soberlink system to urine testing.
Suggested Use Protocol
In an effort to make Soberlink a part of the client's daily, routine, rather than a burden, random testing is strongly discouraged. Scheduled testing creates structure and accountability while the anxiety of unpredictable testing can cause clients to miss tests The program is more effective if the client is submitting planned, required tests rather than making excuses for why they missed random tests. Soberlink's suggested testing protocol requires three test per day.
Two staple tests: one in the morning and one in the evening.
The third test should be scheduled during a pinpointed "trigger time" for the client - this will vary.
In the event of a positive test, the Soberlink system allows monitors to respond quickly and appropriately in the best interest of the client.
As continued-care programs are not one size fits all, monitors should refer to the initial relapse contract to determine any consequences for non-compliance.
Early intervention, personalized continuing care, and successful recovery are all possible with Soberlink alcohol monitoring.
At EHN, Soberlink not only eliminates the challenges of getting test results, but also gives case managers the opportunity to intervene in a timely manner if signs of relapse occur.
With data from Soberlink’s breath-testing system, case managers and loved ones are assured that the patient is on the right track to a successful recovery.
Most importantly, the recovering person is able to use Soberlink Devices as discreet, accountability tools instead of feeling the stress of constant supervision. Soberlink allows patients the chance to rebuild their lives, all while enjoying greater freedom from the hassles of traditional urine testing.
Together with Soberlink, EHN is improving outcomes and helping patients sustain a healthy recovery.
Edgewood Health Network Treatment Centers are world renowned inpatient treatment facilities and clinics. EHN treatment centers, Edgewood in British Columbia and Bellawood in Ontario, have expanded internationally, and helped thousands of individuals and families live healthy, productive lives in recovery. Following successful completion of inpatient treatment, Edgewood Health Network outpatient clinics offer individualized continuing-care programs designed to fully support people and families living in recovery.
¹ James R. McKay, PH.D., and Susanne Hiller-Sturmhöfel, PH.D., “Treating Alcoholism As a Chronic Disease,” Alcohol Research & Health
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.