Year: 2023 Source: Injury Epidemiology. (2022). 9(Suppl 1), 37. SIEC No: 20230368
Background Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death in American youth aged 15 to 24, and over half of these deaths are suicides. Self-harm deaths in Wisconsin among adolescents have increased by 34% since 2006. Each year, our pediatric emergency department (ED) staff care for over 1100 children and adolescents who present with suicidal ideation or self-harming behaviors. We implemented an ED-based program aimed at improving the education given to families on reducing self-directed violence and providing firearm storage devices to families with the goal of reducing access to lethal means. Program description Our program takes place in the pediatric ED of an academic children’s hospital and seeks to assist families of all patients who present with suicidal ideation or suicide attempt (SI/SA). In collaboration with our social workers, we reviewed their processes for interviewing and counseling families of patients who present with SI/SA. Social workers previously used a hospital-wide patient and family education sheet for safety planning that included information about safely storing medications and community mental health services. We teamed with our hospital’s health literacy and education committees and revised the teaching sheet to include more in-depth information about safe firearm storage. For families who were interested, we developed a process to provide up to two firearm lockboxes equipped with a combination lock. Working with risk management, the parent injury prevention product liability form was updated to include firearm lockboxes. Conclusion We implemented a safe firearm storage program including development of a patient and family education sheet and provision of firearm lockboxes to families. Next steps under consideration include providing lockboxes for safe medication storage and establishing a follow-up system to assess proper use of firearm lockboxes and family and social worker satisfaction.