Lethal means counseling for suicide prevention: Views of emergency department clinicians
Siry, B.J., Polzer, E., Omeragic, F., Knoepke, C.E., Matlock, D.D., & Betz, M.E.
Lethal means safety – counseling and guidance about reducing access to home firearms and medications – is recommended for emergency department patients at risk of suicide. Decision aids are tools that can facilitate potentially difficult decisions by incorporating personal preferences and values. The present study evaluates clinician perceptions about the implementation and utility of “Lock to Live,” a lethal means safety decision aid.
One-on-one qualitative interviews were conducted with clinicians (n = 15) at three large emergency departments. Interviewees were asked to evaluate the “Lock to Live” decision tool and its potential implementation and utilization in the emergency department. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data were coded via thematic analysis; two coders developed a shared codebook iteratively with high interrater reliability.
Perspectives on the tool fell into three domains: (1) patients (use with patients and families), (2) clinicians, and (3) emergency department system. Interviewees noted that the tool had numerous potential benefits but that its uptake and effectiveness would depend on clinicians’ perceptions on its utility, time constraints, and integration into workflow. Addressable concerns related to relationship to other resources, fit within emergency department workflow, and clarification about which emergency department clinician types should use the tool.
“Lock to Live” represents a promising new tool for use in suicide prevention as an aid to lethal means counseling. This qualitative study provides insights into the importance of considering the clinical environment when designing and implementing interventions.