Ligatures and/or Suicide Risk Reduction - Hospital Applicability Sample Scenarios

For each of the following general hospital scenarios, would a suicide risk assessment be required?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

A patient seen in the Emergency Department for a fracture sustained in the act of attempting suicide:
This patient has already identified him/herself as "at risk" by virtue of the suicide attempt. A risk assessment is not necessary. Treatment of the fracture and the emotional condition is needed. As the patient recovers, an assessment of the degree of ongoing risk for suicide is required in order to plan the appropriate continuing care.

A patient admitted to the ICU for detoxification:
Detoxification is a medical treatment. At the time of admission to the ICU, the primary diagnosis is medical. However, as the patient recovers, the primary diagnosis will shift to the underlying psychiatric or substance abuse problem. When the patient is able a suicide risk assessment will be required. A patient admitted to OB in active labor, has history of severe post-partum depression after a previous childbirth: The decision to do a suicide risk assessment and when to do it would be left to the responsible practitioner. It would not be required under NPSG.15.01.01, however, this type of patient represents a high risk.

 Additional information regarding assessing suicide risk has been published in our Sentinel Event Alerts:
Last updated on March 19, 2020
Manual: Critical Access Hospital
Chapter: National Patient Safety Goals NPSG

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