Joint Commission shines spotlight on suicide in hospitals and other settings, with 8 steps to detect growing concern

March 04, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark News

Hospitals & Health Networks

The Joint Commission recently issued a new alert: Sentinel Event Alert #56: Detecting and Treating Suicide Ideation in All Settings. “We are shining a light on this issue because the tragic reality is that many health care providers do not detect suicidal thoughts of individuals who eventually die by suicide, even though most victims of suicide received health care services in the year prior to death,” said Ana Pujols McKee, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for the Joint Commission. “As a result, it is crucial for at-risk patients to receive timely and supportive care.” The alert provides hospitals and other health care settings with eight steps that clinicians can use to detect patients who are at risk for suicide. The steps include reviewing patients’ personal and family medical history for risk factors; screening all patients for suicide ideation; taking action to keep the patient safe; creating  an ongoing, systematic assessment, treatment, and discharge process with the patient; educating all staff on identifying and responding to patients with suicide ideation; and documenting decisions about care and referrals.

Spark Extra! See this website for the full alert and an infographic and chart of related Joint Commission standards.