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Sober Living Guidelines: Part Two

Anddd we’re back! It’s time to circle back and review SAMHSA’s Sober Living Guidelines and Best Practices.  Today, we are going to outline Principles 6-10.  If you missed Part One, which covers Principles 1-5, you can check it out here.

A quick refresher course. In 2018, the federal government signed SUPPORT into legislation, which includes a concerted effort to determining quality sober living facilities.  In response to the legislation, SAMHSA released its 10 Sober Living Guidelines and Best Practices list, which can serve as a blueprint for current and future sober living programs.

Let’s get started with Part Two.

SAMHSA Sober Living Guidelines

6. Written Policies, Procedures, and Resident Expectations

Every sober living residence should have a clear and factual document for all of its standard operating procedures and policies.  When a resident is admitted to the home, a house staff member or operator must thoroughly review the components of the document, and address any questions or concerns the resident may have. The document should be signed by both the resident and staff operator to acknowledge that both parties understand expectations going forward.

SAMHSA also suggests that residents receive a handbook of expectations and policies that can be referred to throughout the residents’ stay.

7. Ensures Quality, Integrity, and Resident Safety

As a recovery residence, sober living programs’ top priority should be the safety of each resident. This includes, and is not limited to: honest and regular urine samples, a complete and orderly medication policy (including proper storage and disposal), and proper certification under the Fair Housing Act (license to provide adequate care for more than four residents).

SAMHSA also indicates patient brokering as a crucial component of resident safety.  We have seen individuals capitalize on sick addicts as a means to make a buck.  If you have followed along with us for awhile, you know exactly how we feel about patient brokering.

8. Learn and Practice Cultural Competence

Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate.  Men and women from all ethnicities, races, religions and socioeconomic statuses can be effected. Sober living staff operators will treat all residents with respect, regardless of their personal background.

9. Maintain Ongoing Communication with Interested Parties and Care Specialists

Provided that a signed release of confidential information is present, sober living facilities should maintain constant and transparent communication with all parties that have a significant interest in a resident. Parties include: family, referral source, probation officer, lawyer, therapist/clinical support.  Throughout the resident’s stay, each party should be updated on the resident’s progress, medication adjustments, clinical changes, and discharge planning.

10. Evaluate Program Effectiveness and Resident Success

Sober living homes have evolved into an important piece of the recovery puzzle.  Prospective families or referral sources must be able to determine the effectiveness and relevance in a program’s ability to provide adequate care. Program evaluation should include in-house data collection from staff operators.  Data should include, abstinence time, employment, incarceration, and other factors.

We have summed up each principle for you.  If you are interested in reading the full report, you can check it out here.

As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out.