Social service directors’ roles and self-efficacy in suicide risk management in US nursing homes
Wang, X., Simons, K., Gammonley, D., Roberts, A.R., & Bern-Klug, M.
Nursing home (NH) residents have many risk factors for suicide in later life and transitions into and out of NHs are periods of increased suicide risk. The purpose of this study was to describe NH social service directors (SSDs) roles in managing suicide risk and to identify factors that influence self-efficacy in this area. This study used data from the 2019 National Nursing Home Social Services Directors survey (n = 924). One-fifth (19.7%) of SSDs reported a lack of self-efficacy in suicide risk management, as indicated by either needing significant preparation time or being unable to train others on intervening with residents at risk for suicide. Ordinal logistic regression identified SSDs who were master’s prepared, reported insufficient social service staffing as a minor barrier (versus a major barrier) to psychosocial care, and those most involved in safety planning for suicide risk were more likely to report self-efficacy for training others. Implications include the need for targeted training of NH social service staff on suicide prevention, such as safety planning as an evidence-based practice. Likewise, sufficient staffing of qualified NH social service providers is critically important given the acute and chronic mental health needs of NH residents.