The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert regarding acts of suicide in medical-surgical units and emergency rooms.
Joint Commission issues alert on patient suicides
The alert warns that non-psychiatric patients are committing suicide in those units and seeks to ensure that patients outside of psychiatric units are properly screened for potential suicide. The commission's Sentinel Event database indicates that close to 25% of inpatient suicides occur in non-behavioral health hospital units, ERs and other non-psych unit settings, such as home health.
“It is evident from the number of incidents reported that general hospitals must take action to prevent patient suicides. The mental as well as physical needs of patients must be addressed to prevent these tragic occurrences,” said Mark Chassin, M.D., Joint Commission president, in a news release.
The Joint Commission suggests hospitals educate staffers about identifying suicide risk factors. It also suggests giving staffers the power to call a mental health professional or resource person when needed.
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