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Toolkit:  Suicide Risk Assessment and Response to Patient Suicide
Patient suicide guidelines for ATTENDINGS


This document is to serve as a guideline for residents and faculty and should not take the place of sound clinical judgment.  Each event should be evaluated on a case by case basis.  The particular sequence of actions taken should be tailored to the specific patient, resident(s) and attending involved with the case. 

In the event of suicide, or news of suicide event, during regular work hours:
  • Make contact with resident who cared for patient and chief resident for immediate check-in.

  • Discuss with resident and chief resident how contact with the family of the patient will be handled and assist residents with family interactions.

  • Attending should notify the Medical and Service Directors, Training Director, Chair’s office of the event.

  • Attending should determine if the Risk Management Office should be notified about the case.

  • When immediate responsibilities are taken care, discuss need for time off with affected resident and chief resident.  Involve training director as needed.

  • Team debriefing including all involved residents, attendings, medical students, and other staff should occur within 72 hours of event.

  • Participate in a quality assurance and M&M presentation of the case.  For the M&M case the attending and chief resident involved in the case should also be in attendance.  Attending and resident should present portions of the case and should all be involved in the preparation of the presentation per hospital policy.

  • Consider quarterly safety case conferences.


In the event of a suicide event during on-call hours:

On-Call Attending

  • Check-in with involved on-call resident by phone or in person for support.

  • If possible, come to hospital to evaluate and document regarding event.

  • Notify chief resident and service attending if not already done.


Service Attending

  • Notify resident who cared for patient of event and provide immediate check in.

  • Otherwise follow attending protocol above.

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