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Riblet NB, Gottlieb DJ, Watts BV, et al. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2022;210:227-230.
Unplanned discharges (also referred to as leaving against medical advice) can lead to adverse patient outcomes. This study compared unplanned discharges across Veterans Health Affairs (VHA) acute inpatient and residential mental health treatment settings over a ten-year period and found that unplanned discharges are significantly higher in mental health settings. The authors recommend that unplanned discharges be measured to assess patient safety in mental health.
Martin K, Bickle K, Lok J. Int J Mental Health Nurs. 2022;Epub Mar 30.
Cognitive biases can compromise decision making and contribute to poor care. In this study, nurses were provided two patient vignettes as well as associated clinical notes written using either biased or neutral language and asked to make clinical decisions regarding PRN (“as needed”) medication administration for sleep. The study identified a relationship between biased language and clinical decision-making (such as omitting patient education when administering PRN medications).
Waddell AE, Gratzer D. Can J Psychiatry. 2021:070674372110365.
Safety gaps in mental health care offers a limited view if focused primarily on patient suicide. This commentary calls for Canadian psychiatric professionals to examine the safety of their patients from a system perspective to develop a research and practice improvement strategy.
Anderson E, Mohr DC, Regenbogen I, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:316-322.
Burnout and low staff morale have been associated with poor patient safety outcomes. This study focused on the association between organizational climate, burnout and morale, and the use of seclusion and restraints in inpatient psychiatric hospitals. The authors recommend that initiatives aimed at reducing restraints and seclusion in inpatient psychiatric facilities also include a component aimed at improving organizational climate and staff morale.
Mills PD, Watts BV, Hemphill RR. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e423-e428.
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.
Sharma AE, Yang J, Del Rosario JB, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:5-14.
Ambulatory care settings are receiving increased attention as a focus for patient safety improvements. Using data from a multistate patient safety organization (PSO) database, the researchers sought to characterize patterns and characteristics of patient safety incidents reported in ambulatory care settings. Analyses found that 5.9% of events resulted in severe harm and 1.9% resulted in patient death. Over half of the events were from outpatient subspecialty care; fewer events occurred in home/community (5.2%), primary care (2.1%), or dialysis (2.0%) settings. Medication-related events were most common, followed by clinical deterioration and falls. Predictors of higher harm included diagnostic errors, patient/caregiver challenges, and events occurring in home/community or psychiatric settings. These results can help ambulatory care settings target safety events and develop systems-level prevention strategies.  
Mills PD, Soncrant C, Gunnar W. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:567-576.
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.
Salas E, Bisbey TM, Traylor AM, et al. Ann Rev Org Psychol Org Behav. 2020;7:283-313.
This review discusses the importance of teamwork in supporting safety, psychological states driving effective safety performance, organizational- and team-level characteristics impacting safety performance, and the role of teams in safety management.

Nicklin W, Hughes L, eds. Patient Safety. Healthc Q. 2020;22(Sp2):1-128.

Articles in this special issue report on initiatives undertaken by the Canadian National Patient Safety Consortium with a focus on the effect patient partnerships on initiative priority areas including never events, safety culture and homecare safety improvements.
Mello MM, Frakes MD, Blumenkranz E, et al. JAMA. 2020;323:352-366.
This systematic review synthesized evidence from 37 studies to examine the association between malpractice liability risk and healthcare quality and safety. The review found no evidence of association between liability risk and avoidable hospitalizations or readmissions, and limited evidence supporting an association between risk and mortality (5/20 studies) or patient safety indicators or postoperative complications (2/6 studies).
Cullen SW, Xie M, Vermeulen JM, et al. Med Care. 2019;57:913-920.
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.

Sentinel Event Alert. July 30, 2019;(61):1-5.

Anticoagulant medications are known to be high-risk for adverse drug events. Although direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) require less monitoring than warfarin, they are still associated with an increased risk of patient harm if not prescribed and administered correctly. The Joint Commission has issued a new sentinel event alert to raise awareness of the risks related to DOACs, and in particular, the challenges associated with stopping bleeding in patients on these medications. The alert suggests that health care organizations develop patient education materials, policies, and evidence-based guidelines to ensure that DOACs and reversal agents are used appropriately. A past WebM&M commentary discussed common errors related to the use of DOACs.
Vermeulen JM, Doedens P, Cullen SW, et al. Psychiatr Serv. 2018;69:1087-1094.
Prior research has shown that numerous factors may impact patient safety in the inpatient psychiatry setting. In this study involving 4371 patients admitted to 14 inpatient psychiatric units at acute care general hospitals, researchers found that older patients and those with longer length of stay were at increased risk for adverse events and medical errors.
Zaheer S, Ginsburg LR, Wong HJ, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2018;7:e000433.
Establishing a culture of safety within health care organizations requires strong leadership support. This cross-sectional survey study of nurses, allied health professionals, and unit clerks working in the inpatient setting at a single hospital found that positive perceptions of senior leadership support for safety and positive perceptions of teamwork were associated with positive perceptions of patient safety. In addition, when staff perceived senior leadership support for safety to be lacking, the positive impact of direct managerial leadership on staff perceptions of patient safety was more pronounced.
Shields MC, Stewart MT, Delaney KR. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1853-1861.
Despite concerns regarding the safety and quality of care for hospitalized psychiatric patients, research exploring this area of patient safety is lacking. This commentary suggests several policy-focused strategies to improve the safety and patient-centeredness of inpatient psychiatric care, including payment reforms, incentive alignment, and increased funding for research.
Sulkers H, Tajirian T, Paterson J, et al. JAMIA Open. 2019;2:35–39.
Electronic health records (EHRs) have been widely adopted as a strategy to improve patient safety. This commentary explores how one hospital used professional standard achievement to motivate medication safety in inpatient mental health settings. The innovation emphasized scanning technologies, direct prescriber order entry, and EHR-generated data analysis as approaches to enhance the reliability of medication processes for this patient base.
Williams SC, Schmaltz SP, Castro GM, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:643-650.
The Joint Commission identifies inpatient suicide as a sentinel event. Little is known about the epidemiology of hospital suicides other than that they are rare and occur mostly in psychiatry wards. Researchers examined two national databases to develop the first data-driven appraisal of hospital suicide rates. Nationally, between 49 and 65 hospital suicides occur each year. Nearly 75% happen during psychiatric treatment, and the most common means of death is hanging. This hospital suicide rate is an order of magnitude lower than prior estimates. An accompanying editorial raises concerns about the much larger epidemic of suicide immediately after psychiatric hospital discharge. A prior WebM&M commentary highlighted additional strategies to reduce hospital suicide risk.
Kroll DS, Shellman AD, Gitlin DF. J Patient Saf. 2018;14:e51-e55.
Incident reporting systems are widely implemented in health care systems, but they are often underutilized by clinicians. This institution implemented a psychiatry-specific incident reporting tool. Researchers found that physicians submitted more incident reports but there was no significant change in how many serious harm events were identified. An Annual Perspective described the challenges in measuring and responding to serious patient harm.