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Toolkit:  Suicide Risk Assessment and Response to Patient Suicide
Patient suicide guidelines for 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:​
  • Contact chief resident and attending on service.

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

  • If unable to complete clinical duties that day, let your chief resident and attending know what work needs to be done so they can ensure the completion of this work.

  • If time off is needed, contact chief resident and attending for assistance in making arrangements.

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

  • Notify residency director, Dr. Robert Davies, of event.

  • Meet with Dr. Rachel Davis, the designated support person for patient suicide, within 72 hours of the event.

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


  • Follow up meetings with Dr. Davis as needed for the first month and arrange a second meeting 8 weeks following the event for follow-up – this is not intended to be therapy.   However, a determination of whether additional therapy is needed should be made and if appropriate, a referral can be placed.

  • 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.  Attendings and residents should present portions of the case and should all be involved in the preparation of the presentation per hospital policy.


*If you have switched to night float or another service when the debriefing or M&M is to take place, contact the training    office for assistance in getting time off to attend this event. 

In the event of a suicide event during on-call hours:
  • Contact the on-call attending to relay information about the event.

  • Contact chief resident and patient’s service attending.

  • Option to sign out to jeopardy if needed, to be discussed with chief resident and on-call attending.

  • Otherwise follow resident protocol above.

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