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


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 residents who cared for patient – both resident on service and residents who previously cared for patient, if applicable.

  • Contact attending on service if not already done.

  • Discuss with resident and attending how contact with the family of the patient will be handled.

  • Meet with resident for immediate check-in and to determine how to help the resident if they are unable to complete their clinical duties that day.

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

  • Meet with involved medical students for a check-in and to assess need for additional support.

  • Contact medical student educational coordinator.

  • 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 optional meeting with Dr. Rachel Davis, the designated support person for patient suicide.

    • Rachel Davis, MD              (W) 303-724-8244, (C) 303-579-5748



In the event of a suicide event during on-call hours:
  • Check-in with on-call resident about event by phone and provide support as indicated.

  • Decide with on-call resident who will contact back-up attending and attending on service.

  • Discuss with on-call resident option of being relieved of call duties if needed.  If indicated, contact jeopardy call resident.

  • Discuss with resident and service or on-call attending any contact or notification of family members which needs to occur and assist as needed.

  • Otherwise follow chief resident protocol above.

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