March 14, 2024

Many hospitals neglect best-practice suicide prevention

Editor's Note

A study from the Joint Commission found that more than 25 percent of hospitals have not adopted any of the four policies identified by the organization as best-practice, evidence-based discharge practices for preventing suicide in at-risk patients.  

According to a March 12 report on the implementation gap from The Pew Charitable Trusts, which worked with the Joint Commission to survey accredited hospitals, most of the remaining 75 percent of hospitals use only one or two of the four recommended measures. In fact, only 8% of US hospitals have instituted all four measures.

The four practices are formal safety planning (offering steps to take or people to talk to for help); providing “warm handoffs” to outpatient care by introducing patients in person; post-discharge wellness checks and other followups; and lethal means safety planning (preventing access to firearms and other lethal objects).

Other findings include:

  • 61% of accredited hospitals conduct formal safety planning.
  • 37% provide warm handoffs to outpatient care.
  • 30% follow up with patients after discharge.
  • 28% provide lethal means safety planning.
  • 73% conduct at least one of four interventions.
  • 47% conduct at least two interventions.
  • 18% conduct at least 3 interventions.
  • Nearly 27% do not use any of the four interventions.


Join our community

Learn More
Video Spotlight
Live chat by BoldChat