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Ligature and/or Suicide Risk Reduction - Dropped Ceilings in Corridors and Common Areas

Are dropped ceilings allowed in corridors and common areas on an inpatient psychiatric unit ?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

Yes, dropped ceilings are allowed in corridors and common areas where staff are regularly present, if there are no objects that patients could easily use to climb up to the drop ceiling, remove a panel, and gain access to ligature risk points in the space above the drop ceiling, and as allowable by the facility's environmental risk assessment. These areas do not need to be in constant view of staff but should be a part of the standard safety rounds conducted by staff (for example, 15-minute patient safety checks, shift-to-shift environmental rounds, and so on).

Dropped ceilings in areas that are not fully visible to staff (for example, a right-angle curve of a corridor, an alcove, or other non-visible areas) should be noted on the risk assessment and have some additional steps taken to make it more difficult for a patient to attempt to access the space above the dropped ceiling (such as, gluing or clipping tiles), which would allow staff to hear or see the patient's suicide attempt and prevent the attempt from occurring.

Additional Resource
Suicide Prevention Portal
Manual: Behavioral Health
Chapter: National Patient Safety Goals NPSG
Last reviewed by Standards Interpretation: June 15, 2022 Represents the most recent date that the FAQ was reviewed (e.g. annual review).
First published date: December 20, 2018 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on June 15, 2022 with update notes of: Review only, FAQ is current Types of changes and an explanation of change type: Editorial changes only: Format changes only. No changes to content. | Review only, FAQ is current: Periodic review completed, no changes to content. | Reflects new or updated requirements: Changes represent new or revised requirements.

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