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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.

A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.

Svensson J. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:245-252.
Safety and quality of care for psychiatric patients is a relatively understudied area of patient safety research. This scoping review explores patient safety strategies used in psychiatry. The review identified seven key strategies that rely on staff performance, competence, and compliance – (1) risk management, (2) healthcare practitioners, (3) patient observation, (4) patient involvement, (5) computerized methods, (6) admission and discharge, and (7) security. These strategies primarily target reductions in suicide, self-harm, violence, and falls.

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.
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.
Mackenhauer J, Winsløv J-H, Holmskov J, et al. Crisis. 2021;Epub May 19.
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.
Shao Q, Wang Y, Hou K, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;77:4005-4016.
Patient suicide in all settings is considered a never event. Nurses caring for the patient may experience negative psychological symptoms following inpatient suicide. This review identified five themes based on nurses’ psychological experiences: emotional experience, cognitive experience, coping strategies, self-reflection, and impact on self and practice. Hospital administrators should develop education and support programs to help nurses cope in the aftermath of inpatient suicide.  
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.
Berg SH, Rørtveit K, Walby FA, et al. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e040088.
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.
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.
Tölli S, Kontio R, Partanen P, et al. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2020;56:785-796.
This study used qualitative methods to understand the experiences of former psychiatric patients that nursing staff considered challenging and that resulted in behavior management interventions (e.g., aggression, self-harm, inappropriate sexual behavior). Interviewed patients cited various reasons for these challenging behaviors, including communication difficulties related to their psychiatric symptoms, stressful feelings such as frustration and fear, coercive nursing culture and restrictive nursing practices. Strategies for managing these behaviors are discussed, as well as core competencies for delivering care based on patients’ needs.
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.
Mokkenstorm JK, Kerkhof AJFM, Smit JH, et al. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018;48:745-754.
Suicide in all settings is considered a sentinel event. This commentary describes an aspirational suicide eradication program. The approach combines direct identification of suicidal behavior and treatment, system-focused process improvements, and organizational safety culture as interdependent strategies for eliminating suicide. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed a suicide attempt on an inpatient medical unit.
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.
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.
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.
True G, Frasso R, Cullen SW, et al. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2017;48:65-71.
This individual interview study of staff at Veterans Health Administration inpatient psychiatry units identified several factors that affect patient safety in this setting, including safety culture, leadership engagement, and patient-centeredness. The authors advocate for a multistakeholder approach that engages frontline staff and leadership in order to improve patient safety for inpatient psychiatric care.