Suicide Prevention Today

Suicide and mental health problems have long been shadowy issues in cultures throughout recorded history. There is no escaping the fact that every year many people lose their lives. Many of them could have been avoided. By 2020, suicide will be among the 9 most common causes of death in people between 10 and 64. For people aged 25-34 and 10-14, suicide ranked second. It is sad to see these statistics added to a difficult topic, ligature resistance door hardware.

Luckily, there is a wide range of organizations that provide support, education, prevention and rehabilitation to shed some light on the dark sides of our modern society. Likewise, both the American Hospital Association and Joint Commission follow guidelines established by the American Society for Health Care Engineering. These guidelines include making patient rooms, bathrooms, corridors, and common patient care areas “ligature-resistant.”

These guidelines cover the psychiatric section of a facility, but not its entire structure. This protocol works well except when behavioral beds are full. The patient may be put in an “all-population room” that is not ligature resistant and could lead to the person harming themselves.

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1. Hospitals are vital to the community and save lives on a daily basis. But, on average, 1,500 hospital suicides happen every year. These suicides take place 75% at the door of a patients’ room. Patients who are in mental distress scan their environment to assess the ligature resistant products. Many people are deterred from self-harming if their room contains ligature-resistant items.

2. Safety is about taking physical measures to keep a hospital safe. Webster’s first description of safety states that it is the condition of safety, free of danger, risk or injury. So, for example, if the patient in the “general population” room scans their environment to see if the doors are safe from ligatures, safety has been achieved. Installing ligature resistance hardware worked.

3. A Fewer Lawsuits. It’s difficult to estimate the number of lawsuits that are filed every year against hospitals where someone believes a suicide might have been prevented. In a recent case, a 22 year old woman spent some time in the behavioral health unit. She had the freedom to roam around on her floor. She went to the laundry and tied an old bed sheet around a locked door. She then threw her bedsheet on the door, causing her to suffocate. Hospital was held responsible for the lack of ligature resistance door locks within the laundry area. In the end, $2.2 million was paid out.

4. It is important to choose the right practices. If medical facilities install ligature-resistant equipment in every part of their hospital, then they will know that they are secure. In addition, if other facilities have seen positive results after installing ligature resistance hardware in the general population’s rooms, then they might also take similar measures. In the future, this practice will also be used to implement more stringent architectural specifications for newly built medical centers.

Why doesn’t every hospital have these ligature-resistant locks on all doors?

AHA wrote a recent article called “Ligature-Risk Requirements: Differentiating Factual Facts from Fiction” which begins, “Few things in health care are as disastrous — and avoidable — as patient suicides.” But data indicate that suicide incidents remain a problem. Therefore, hospitals need to do more in identifying at-risk patients and taking steps to remove suicide tools from their physical environments.

The reason why the doors in medical centres haven’t been fitted with ligature resistance is not well-known. Here are some things to think about.

1. Although ligature resistance locks are less costly than most locks currently available, replacing the locks of all doors in an establishment is expensive and takes a long time.

2. Currently, only behavioral health beds must have a ligature-resistant environment. Joint Commission regulations are in line with SAMHSA CMS ASHE. Each of these organizations is responsible for certain aspects in the current ligature-resistant environments in psychiatric hospital care.

3. Sociologists describe social change as “Changes and transformations of cultural and social institutions that result from human interactions.” This change occurs over time, and has profound long-term effects on society. Today’s media is focused more than any other time in history on the issue of suicide prevention. It’s possible that the mentality of pretending suicide doesn’t exist and “let’s just not talk about this” has faded due to an increase in today’s suicides. In a study conducted recently, it was found that suicide has a ripple effect on up to 130 people.

It is clear that there are no specific reasons why all medical offices do not have door hardware resistant to ligatures. It is impossible to implement one solution for ending suicide collectively, but our community can do so by lending their voices and eyes. Continued conversation on this subject with community leaders, local hospitals and other people can help us save more lives.