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Ligature and/or Suicide Risk Reduction - Inpatient Psychiatric Units - Height Requirements

Is there a height requirement in order to consider something a "ligature risk" ?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

There is no height requirement for a ligature risk. Information from various sources notes that suicides as a result of asphyxiation can occur at any height. Specifically, we have had multiple reports of suicides or suicide attempts during which patients fixed a ligature to a low pipe and around their neck and then spun their body ("alligator roll") to twist the ligature until it asphyxiated them. Thus, low-to-the-ground exposed piping (such as piping near toilets or under the sink, for example) or any other apparatus protruding from the wall or another structure is still considered a ligature risk if the patient is able to create a sustainable point of attachment with another material in order to inflict self-harm or cause loss of life.

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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