Joint Commission Gives Patient Suicide Prevention Tips to Hospitals

November 17, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Campus Safety

The Joint Commission has released a report that contains new guidance on preventing suicide in inpatient psychiatric units, general acute inpatient settings, and emergency departments. The guidance was developed by an expert panel of provider organization representatives, suicide prevention practitioners, behavioral health care facility designers, Joint Commission surveyors, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services staff. The report states that its recommendations address only the “most debated and contentious issues related to environmental hazards” posing a suicide risk in health care settings. According to the recommendations, inpatient psychiatric units must be “ligature-resistant,” i.e., without points that material could be tied to, which would increase the risk of patient suicide or self-harm. The recommendations call for different prevention strategies in general acute inpatient settings and emergency departments, which do not need to meet the ligature-resistant standards of an inpatient psychiatric unit. “There needs to be consensus on these issues so that health care organizations will know what changes they need to make to keep patients safe and so surveyors can reliably assess organizations’ compliance with standards,” the report states.

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