Dying by suicide in nursing homes: A preventable end of life outcome for older residents
Suicide research and suicide prevention have given comparatively little attention to the older adult residents of nursing homes. This population is characterized by advanced age, significant infirmity, limited autonomy and social connections, and other factors associated with high suicide risk such as self-neglect. However, little is known of the actual incidence and prevalence of suicide in older adults in such residential care settings, partly because of how such deaths are reported. Suicide risk screenings are nominal, facility staff lack training to identify signs of suicidality, and suicide prevention programs are not common in the nursing home industry. These deficits can be remedied by increasing awareness among family members, facility caregivers, contracted providers, community aging services, accrediting and regulatory agencies, and residents.