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Joint Commission outlines new suicide risk expectations in aftermath of controversy

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December 1, 2017

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 (TJC).

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

The panels were convened earlier this year 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,” states TJC in what it calls a special report to be published in the November Perspectives magazine.

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

Report based on experts’ input

The expectations outlined in the report mirror those announced by Carrie Mayer, who oversees strategic and operational excellence activities for TJC’s Accreditation and Certification Operations, during a presentation on upcoming changes through the commission’s Project Refresh. Mayer spoke at TJC’s annual Executive Briefings conference in Chicago earlier this month.



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