Few Hospitals Follow Recommended Practices for Evidence-Based Suicide Care

April 19, 2024

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Pew Charitable Trusts

According to a recent survey, hospitals can improve their suicide care by adopting more best practices for discharging patients at risk. The survey asked a nationally representative sample of nonpsychiatric hospitals whether they carry out four best practices for helping patients at risk when they leave the hospital: (1) formal safety planning, (2) warm handoffs to outpatient care, (3) follow-up after discharge, and (4) lethal means safety planning. It found most hospitals apply one or two of these practices, but few apply all four at the same time as recommended. More than a quarter of hospitals were not using any of the interventions. The survey was carried out by The Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. hospitals, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Joint Commission may help close the gap between current and recommended practices in preventing suicide after hospital discharge by adding more guidance or requirements, say some experts.

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