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National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health. Manchester, UK: University of Manchester; May 31, 2021

System failures require multifactorial assessment to install targeted improvements. This toolkit examines 10 areas of focus for organizations to assess the safety of mental health services in emergent and primary care settings to minimize patient suicide and self-harm. Areas of focus include post-discharge follow-up, admissions, and family engagement.
Mills PD, Soncrant C, Gunnar W. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(7):567-576.
This retrospective analysis used root cause analysis reports of suicide events in VA hospitals to characterize suicide attempts and deaths and provide prevention recommendations. Recommendations include avoidance of environmental hazards, medication monitoring, control of firearms, and close observation.
Cullen SW, Xie M, Vermeulen JM, et al. Med Care. 2019;57(11):913-920.
Various factors can impact patient safety risk in psychiatric settings. This study assessed the prevalence of AEs and MEs in community hospitals and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals and found that psychiatric inpatients at community hospitals were twice as likely to experience these patient safety events than VHA inpatients, even after controlling for patient and hospital characteristics.
A man prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant and an antipsychotic medication was found unconscious and unresponsive at home and was brought to the emergency department (ED). An electrocardiogram showed potentially dangerous heart rhythms.
Lankshear A, Lowson K, Harden J, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2008;63.
This study demonstrated that simply designing "system" safeguards fails to prevent errors in subsequent monitoring and implementation. Investigators used three safety alerts, including latex allergy, as markers of how well these alerts were being adopted in practice by bedside nurses.
Mills PD, DeRosier JM, Ballot BA, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2008;34(8):482-488.
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.