Year: 2020 Source: Chicago, IL: International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety. (2020). 23 p. SIEC No: 20200943

Inpatient suicide and self-harm attempts are two sentinel events hospitals seek to avoid. Nonetheless, each year, patients are able to commit suicide or self-harm within hospitals. While several national entities have provided guidance to reduce the risk of self-harm among inpatients, no global standard exists to address these preventable events. The objectives of this paper are to evaluate current standards of care used around the world to prevent suicide and self-harm attempts and to make practical recommendations for hospital staff to implement for a safer hospital environment. Staff training, proper environment modification, patient assessment, and other protocols can help ensure patients are cared for in a healthy and low-risk way. Therefore, hospitals should seek to have specific guidelines in place to properly care for patients who may express suicide ideation or the desire to self-harm. These guidelines should include patient assessment and follow-up measures to ensure patient care is continuous throughout hospitalizations. A true understanding of the effectiveness of programs and interventions is difficult to achieve without data and surveillance measures that provide an accurate estimate of suicide and self-harm attempts among inpatients around the world. Future research should address way to provide more accurate surveillance of these adverse events and measure the population-level effects of interventions that may benefit patients.