Inpatient suicide and suicide attempts in Veterans Affairs hospitals.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has pioneered the use of root cause analysis to identify systems causes of adverse events. This study reports on the use of this technique to analyze inpatient suicide attempts at VA hospitals. Suicide attempts, the majority of which occur on inpatient psychiatric units, are considered a health care never event. Review of root cause analysis reports over a 7-year period identified several methods of self-harm and factors that facilitated suicide attempts. A prior study reported on preventive mechanisms that have been implemented at VA hospitals to reduce the risk of inpatient suicide attempts.