The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Riblet NB, Varela M, Ashby W, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:503-512.
Preventing suicide among patients with a mental health diagnosis is a National Patient Safety goal. This study evaluated the impact of the WHO Brief Intervention and Contact (BIC) Program on suicide after psychiatric discharge at six Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers. After implementation, nearly 82% of patients exhibited positive treatment engagement. Participating healthcare staff reported that the program was easy to use and implement but noted that insufficient staffing and patient loss-to-follow-up can impede program success. A previous WebM&M case and commentary discusses suicide after discharge.
Berg SH, Rørtveit K, Walby FA, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:967.
Inpatient suicides are considered a never event. Based on patient and provider interviews and a literature review, this paper describes the development of resilience in inpatient psychiatric settings. The main theme is establishment of relationship of trust between patients and providers.
Brierley-Jones L, Ramsey L, Canvin K, et al. Res Involv Engagem. 2022;8:8.
Patient engagement in safety efforts is encouraged, but patients are less often included as active participants in designing patient safety interventions. This review identified 52 studies that included mental health patients in the design, delivery, implementation, and/or evaluation of patient safety research. The authors argue that increased inclusion of patients in safety research may lead to development of higher quality safety interventions.
Researchers reviewed 15 years of root cause analysis reports of all instances of suicide and suicide attempts on Veterans Health Administration (VHA) grounds. Forty-seven suicides or suicide attempts were identified, and primary root causes included communication breakdown and a need for improved suicide interventions. The paper includes recommended actions to address the root causes of attempted and completed patient suicides.
Alshehri GH, Keers RN, Carson-Stevens A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:341-351.
Medication errors are common in mental health hospitals. This study found medication administration and prescribing were the most common stages of medication error. Staff-, organizational-, patient-, and equipment-related factors were identified as contributing to medication safety incidents.
Mackenhauer J, Winsløv J-H, Holmskov J, et al. Crisis. 2021;43:307-314.
Prior research has found that patients who die by suicide often had recent contact with the healthcare setting. Based on a multi-year chart review at one institution, the authors concluded that suicide risk assessment and documentation in the heath record to be insufficient. The authors outline quality improvement recommendations focused on improving documentation, suicide assessment and intervention training, and improving communications with families, caregivers, and other health care providers.
Hunt DF, Bailey J, Lennox BR, et al. Int J Ment Health Syst. 2021;15:33.
Psychological safety has been widely studied in a variety of settings, clinical areas, and patient outcomes. This commentary lays out the benefits of safety culture and how it can be implemented organization-wide, with a particular focus on mental health organizations. Specific interventions are discussed, including family involvement, leadership communication, and simulation.
Patient safety is an emerging focus within the mental health field. This qualitative study highlights three themes of perceived safe clinical care for patients in a suicidal crisis – being recognized as suicidal, receiving personalized treatment, and adapting care to meet fluctuating behaviors.
Cutler NA, Sim J, Halcomb E, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2020;29:4379-4386.
An important element of providing patient-centered care is enhancing patient perceptions of safety. This qualitative study explored how nurses influence perceptions of safety among patients admitted for acute mental health care. Findings suggest that nurses can improve patients’ sense of safety by being available, responsive, and caring towards patients, while also focusing on management of risk.
Wyder M, Ray MK, Roennfeldt H, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:285-291.
This systematic review examined common systems factors affecting suicide deaths in mental health care. Seven themes contributing to suicide deaths were identified: (1) inappropriate or incomplete risk assessment; (2) lack of family involvement; (3) inadequate transitions and communication between different care teams; (4) lack of adherence to policies and procedures; (5) treatment not in line with current guidelines; (6) access to means and observation and; (7) lack of specialist services within the community.
System weaknesses are often at the root of never events. This news story discusses the suicide of a concussed woman whose care failed due to gaps in team communication, discharge and transition practices.
Schwappach DLB, Niederhauser A. Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2019;28:1363-1373.
This study focused on healthcare workers speaking-up behavior in six psychiatric hospitals in Switzerland. The authors found significant differences in speaking-up despite having moderate to high scores on items that were associated with psychological safety. Although nurses reported patient safety concerns more frequently, they also remained silent more often compared with psychologists and physicians, indicating they may feel less psychological safety.
Cleary M, Lees D, Lopez V. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2018;39:980-982.
Effective apology behaviors improve opportunities for error resolution for clinicians, patients, and families. This commentary highlights the importance of expressing empathy, considering legal implications, and demonstrating individual, leadership, and organizational support of open disclosure.
Keers RN, Plácido M, Bennett K, et al. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0206233.
This interview study used a human factors method, the critical incident technique, to identify underlying factors in medication administration errors in a mental health inpatient facility. The team identified multiple interconnected vulnerabilities, including inadequate staffing, interruptions, and communication challenges. The findings underscore the persistence of widely documented medication safety administration concerns.
A woman with a history of psychiatric illness presented to the emergency department with agitation, hallucinations, tachycardia, and transient hypoxia. The consulting psychiatric resident attributed the tachycardia and hypoxia to her underlying agitation and admitted her to an inpatient psychiatric facility. Over the next few days, her tachycardia persisted and continued to be attributed to her psychiatric disease. On hospital day 5, the patient was found unresponsive and febrile, with worsening tachycardia, tachypnea, and hypoxia; she had diffuse myoclonus and increased muscle tone.
O'Connor K, Neff DM, Pitman S. Eur Psychiatry. 2018;53:74-99.
Clinician burnout has been associated with decreased job satisfaction. Burnout may also be detrimental to patient safety. This systematic review and meta-analysis found high rates of burnout among mental health professionals. The authors recommend strategies to address burnout including promoting professional autonomy, developing teamwork, and providing quality clinical supervision.
Admitted to the hospital complaining of difficulty breathing and swallowing, a Vietnamese man was diagnosed with reflux disease and an outpouching of the esophagus. The patient was anxious and repeatedly stated that he was "dying" from his physical ailments. During a gastroenterology consultation, the patient ran to the restroom and jumped out the window, killing himself.
Kelly T, Roper C, Elsom S, et al. Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2011;20:371-9.
This qualitative study demonstrated marked similarities between nurse and consumer perspectives for safe patient identification. Technical aids, such as wristbands and photographs, were deemed important but not replacements for the nurse–patient encounter.
Brickell TA, McLean C. J Patient Saf. 2011;7:39-44.
Patient safety is a relatively new domain within the mental health field. This article describes the dominant issues and priorities for improving patient safety in this field based on a consensus conference.
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