Ligatures and/or Suicide Risk Reduction - Dropped Ceilings in Corridors and Common Areas on an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit

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 as allowable by the facility’s safety 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) 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.

This FAQ was also published in the Perspectives® Newsletter, January 2019, Volume 39, Issue 1 - The Official Newsletter of The Joint Commission.
Last updated on March 19, 2020
Manual: Behavioral Health
Chapter: National Patient Safety Goals NPSG

If no, please comment on how we could improve this response.

If you have additional standards-related questions regarding this topic, please use the Standards Online Submission Form