Accreditation

New suicide risk expectations from Joint Commission in aftermath of sentinel events stats

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, January 1, 2018

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Review your policies and procedures for treating suicidal patients in general acute inpatient and emergency care areas following newly finalized recommendations from The Joint Commission.

Annually, there are 460,000 emergency department visits that occur following cases of self-harm. Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by CMS and The Joint Commission.

The recommendations come from the meetings of two multidisciplinary panels of experts that included representatives from CMS and healthcare organizations nationwide.

The panels were convened in 2017 to discuss how hospitals should make their facilities safer for patients at risk of self-harm, as suicides and suicide attempts at hospitals continue to be among the top sentinel events year to year.

“Over the last year there have been several specific situations where surveyors for The Joint Commission and/or state agencies have disagreed on what constitutes a ligature risk and what mitigation strategies are acceptable,” The Joint Commission stated in the November Perspectives magazine.

“There needs to be consensus on these issues so that health care organizations will know what changes they need to make to keep patients safe and so surveyors can reliably assess organizations’ compliance with standards,” continued the accreditor.

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