Quality & Patient Safety

Joint Commission talks ligature risk

Patient Safety Monitor, December 1, 2018

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 Suicide prevention and ligature risk was a major topic at The Joint Commission (TJC)’s 2019 Executive Briefings this September. Many attendees had questions on risk assessments, physical environment updates, and suicide screening of patients. 

Kathryn Petrovic, MSN, RN-BC, TJC’s field director of surveyor management and development, and Emily Wells, CSW, MSW, TJC’s project director of surveyor management, spoke about what the accreditor expects facilities to do to ensure suicidal patients’ safety.

Tools and screening

The first thing Petrovic and Wells noted was that TJC doesn’t require facilities to conduct universal suicide screening—that is, screening every patient that comes into the hospital for any reason. That said, many facilities choose to do universal screening anyway. There are several tools available for this purpose, like the PSS-3 screener for the ER. 

On the topic of screeners, Petrovic and Wells added that the facility’s chosen tool should be included in its suicide prevention policy.

“Staff need to be clear on where they’re supposed to document and what they’re supposed to document on, in order to synthesize that risk,” said Petrovic. 

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Patient Safety Monitor.

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