Actions and implementation strategies to reduce suicidal events in the Veterans Health Administration.

Field Office, VA National Center for Patient Safety, White River Junction, Vermont, USA.
Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety / Joint Commission Resources 04/2006; 32(3):130-41.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Veterans possess many risk factors for suicide, making suicide prevention in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) a particular challenge.
An analysis was conducted of 94 aggregated root cause analyses (RCAs) for parasuicidal behavior and 43 single-case suicide RCAs submitted from 75 VHA facilities to determine primary root causes for suicide and parasuicidal behaviors and to gain information about action plans, success factors and obstacles to improvement. Telephone follow-up interviews were conducted with each facility.
The aggregate reviews included 775 individual cases of parasuicidal behavior. The top root causes of parasuicidal behavior were poor assessment and communication of patient risk, patient stressors, and need for staff and patients training. Forty-eight percent of the action plans developed to address the root causes involved a policy change, 30% involved staff training, and 14% involved making a specific clinical change. Eight-eight percent of the actions adequately addressed the root cause, of which 68.1% were fully implemented.
There is little agreement on the definition of "parasuicide," and it is likely the case that parasuicide behaviors are underreported in our system. To encourage reporting, patient safety staff should collaborate with providers and use a more inclusive definition of parasuicide.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An elementary System Oriented Event Analysis (SOEA) model was developed as an innovative method addressing serious limitations of the traditional root cause analysis (RCA) in healthcare. The SOEA has three distinctive capabilities beyond RCA: multiple events analysis, systems thinking, risk control formulation and alignment. It was applicable to events arising within strict sequential processes. However, for wider application to nonsequential, network system flows, the model needed to be redesigned. The engineering concepts of verification and validation were adopted as guides for the redesign. Patient falls in three differently sized hospitals were used to verify the applicability of the redesigned model. The resulting enriched SOEA model (enSOEA) was later applied in a scabies outbreak case as a validation test of success. This paper aims to describe how the elementary SOEA model was redesigned to achieve the enriched SOEA that is applicable beyond the sequential process, and provides key lessons learned from the tests for promoting its application. ©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 16
    Systems Engineering 12/2013; 16(4). DOI:10.1002/sys.21246 · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: One thousand five hundred suicides take place on inpatient psychiatry units in the United States each year, over 70% by hanging. Understanding the methods and the environmental components of inpatient suicide may help to reduce its incidence. METHODS: All Root Cause Analysis reports of suicide or suicide attempts in inpatient mental health units in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals between December 1999 and December 2011 were reviewed. We coded the method of suicide, anchor point and lanyard for cases of hanging, and implement for cutting, and brought together all other reports of inpatient hazards from VA staff for review. RESULTS: There were 243 reports of suicide attempts and completions: 43.6% (106) were hanging, 22.6% (55) were cutting, 15.6% (38) were strangulation, and 7.8% (19) were overdoses. Doors accounted for 52.2% of the anchor points used for the 22 deaths by hanging; sheets or bedding accounted for 58.5% of the lanyards. In addition, 23.1% of patients used razor blades for cutting. CONCLUSIONS: The most common method of suicide attempts and completions on inpatient mental health units is hanging. It is recommended that common lanyards and anchor points be removed from the environment of care. We provide more information about such hazards and introduce a decision tree to help healthcare providers to determine which hazards to remove.
    General hospital psychiatry 05/2013; 35(5). DOI:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.03.021 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Root cause analysis (RCA) after adverse events in healthcare is a standard practice at many institutions. However, healthcare has failed to see a dramatic improvement in patient safety over the last decade. In order to improve the RCA process, this study used systems safety science, which is based partly on human factors engineering principles and has been applied with success in other high-risk industries like aviation. A multi-institutional dataset of 334 RCA cases and 782 solutions was analyzed using qualitative methods. A team of safety science experts developed a model of 13 RCA solutions categories through an iterative process, using semi-structured interview data from 44 frontline staff members from 7 different hospital-based unit types. These categories were placed in a model and toolkit to help guide RCA teams in developing sustainable and effective solutions to prevent future adverse events. This study was limited by its retrospective review of cases and use of interviews rather than clinical observations. In conclusion, systems safety principles were used to develop guidelines for RCA teams to promote systems-level sustainable and effective solutions for adverse events.
    01/2013; 33(2):11-20. DOI:10.1002/jhrm.21122