This course is based upon material published in the Annals of General Psychiatry and is available as an open access article.
Background: The objective of this study was to assess sentinel event analysis and relative factors in different mental healthcare settings. In addition, the occurrence of sentinel events in different hospital settings was compared and potential risk factors contributing to sentinel events identified.
Methods: A total of 75 consecutive adult subjects were enrolled from 2 psychiatric units, 1 within a general hospital and 1 at a psychiatric hospital in southern Taiwan. A retrospective chart review of the psychiatric inpatients was conducted for patients that met the criteria for a sentinel event between July 2004 and May 2011. A comparison of the hospital settings was made and differences between suicidal and non-suicidal sentinel events studied.
Results: Psychiatric patients that received general hospital psychiatric services (1) appeared to experience a sentinel event soon after admission, (2) the time between the sentinel event occurrence and patient death was shorter, (3) there was a higher probability of potential medical illness than among inpatients treated at a specialized psychiatric hospital, (4) the sentinel event subjects that committed suicide were younger, had a shorter hospital stay, shorter time to occurrence of the sentinel event followed by an unexpected death than the nonsuicidal group, and (5) a younger age, higher education level, previous suicide attempt and family psychiatric history were important predictors of suicide among psychiatric inpatients.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that psychiatric inpatients treated at a general hospital require careful examination for potential physical illness and greater efforts to prevent suicide. A younger age, higher education level, history of a previous suicide attempt and family psychiatric history are additional risk factors for suicide among these patients.
This course on risk factors for suicide and sentinel events in psychiatric hospital settings is designed for professional counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other professionals who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of predictors of suicide among inpatients in hospital settings. This course may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
The course is based on a journal article which includes research. As such it contains statistical analysis and data which some clinicians enjoy reading and others do not. One of the benefits of reading research based articles for continuing education is that it allows the practitioner to keep current on the latest findings in their field.
Authors: Chen, Tzeng, Cheng and Lin
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding the predictors of suicide among inpatients within psychiatric hospitals. Specifically, a professional will:
- Describe sentinel events and sentinel event analysis.
- Identify potential risk factors that contribute to sentinel events in psychiatric settings.
- Identify potential risk factors for suicide among inpatients.
Citation: Chen, Tzeng, Cheng and Lin (2012). Sentinel events and predictors of suicide among inpatients at psychiatric hospitals. Annals of General Psychiatry, 11:4.