CHA News Article

New Guidance Addresses Environmental Safety for Suicide Prevention

The Joint Commission has released recommendations for hospitals on protecting patients with suicidal ideation by eliminating environmental hazards. The guidance was developed by an expert panel of representatives from provider organizations, experts in suicide prevention and design of behavioral health care facilities, Joint Commission surveyors and staff, and staff from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While the recommendations specifically address inpatient psychiatric units, general acute inpatient settings and emergency departments, it is important to note CMS has not yet adopted them for use by its surveyors.

The Joint Commission has also convened a suicide expert panel to discuss other behavioral health care settings, such as residential treatment, partial hospitalization and outpatient settings, and that panel’s recommendations will be added to the existing guidance once finalized.