Year: 2021 Source: Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice. (2021). 14(2). Published online 9 June 2021. doi: 10.1891/JDNP-D-20-00049. SIEC No: 20210445

Background: Suicide is a risk in hospitalized patients within and outside of behavioral health units. Williams et al. (2018). Incidence and method of suicide in hospitals in the United States. Williams et al. (2018), suicides occur annually in hospitals, 14%-26% of occurrences outside of a behavioral health unit.

Objectives: The purpose of this project was to improve compliance with universal patient suicide ideation screening and targeted actions for patients screening positive admitted to nonbehavioral health units.

Methods: Electronic medical record (EMR) changes to support screening and targeted patient safety measure documentation were implemented. Nursing education was provided to support these changes. Pre- and post assessments were used to measure knowledge gained from the education. A compliance report was generated from the EMR to measure compliance with universal screening and patient safety measures.

Results: In a 4-month period, screening compliance improved by 20.6%, bedside safety companion use was 100%, suicide precautions, documentation 82.5%, and a behavioral health social work note documented 76% of the time.

Conclusions: Universal screening improvement is feasible and has the potential to improve patient safety. Implementation should be considered across health care organizations.

Implications for nursing: Providing nursing education and easier EMR workflows for nursing documentation of suicide screening and prevention strategies improves patient safety.