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Ligature and/or Suicide Risk Reduction - Emergency Department - Ligature-resistant Requirements

Do emergency departments need to be ligature resistant ?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

No. Emergency departments do not need to meet the same standards as an inpatient psychiatric unit to be a ligature-resistant environment. Patients in emergency departments often require equipment to monitor and treat their medical conditions, so it is impossible to make their environment truly ligature resistant. However, organizations must implement safeguards to keep patients with active suicidality safe during the course of treatment in that setting. In designing the emergency department environment, the organization must first consider state rules and regulations (typically the state health department).  Spaces/rooms designated ONLY for the treatment of patients with behavioral health conditions within an emergency department must meet the ligature-resistant requirements. 

See also the FAQ titled "What are The Joint Commission's expectations for an environmental risk assessment in non-psychiatric units/areas in general hospitals where patients at risk for suicide are housed (for example, non-designated patient rooms within medical/surgical units, emergency departments)?

Additional Resource
Suicide Prevention Portal

Manual: Hospital and Hospital Clinics
Chapter: National Patient Safety Goals NPSG
Last reviewed by Standards Interpretation: February 01, 2022 Represents the most recent date that the FAQ was reviewed (e.g. annual review).
First published date: June 27, 2018 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on February 01, 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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