Suicide prevention is the lead article in this months edition of Perspectives. It details discussions on the fourth meeting of their expert panel.
The meeting discussed and provided guidance on “Suicide Risk Assessment.” We believe the meeting purpose was twofold:
- Determine which of the several available physical risk assessment tools is the one that TJC will suggest or sanction
- Provide guidance on the “key components for safe monitoring of high-risk patients.”
In fact, we presume this latter topic would delve into the acceptable techniques for mitigating suicide risk. For example, a 1:1 direct observation, or an order for q 15-minute checks. Both topics are vitally important to hospitals. But, it’s challenging to thread the compliance needle and avoid Condition Level or worse accreditation decisions following survey.
Furthermore, we continue to see surveyor variation on which physical environment risk tools are acceptable. Some favor the “VA tool.” In addition, are hospitals required to use the seemingly favored “Columbia” patient suicide/self-harm risk assessment scale? Or, is an alternative or even home-grown scale acceptable.