Virtual Monitoring of Suicide Risk in the General Hospital and Emergency Department
Kroll DS, Stanghellini E, DesRoches SL, et al. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2020;63:33-38.
The evidence for 1:1 observation is lacking and costly. Constant observation of patients who are determined to be at risk for suicide is rooted more deeply in tradition than in research. Yet observation is considered essential for these patients, and failure to do so would be deemed negligent.
Many patients at risk for suicide can be continuously monitored virtually. In this retrospective analysis at an academic tertiary hospital, 39 patients (27 [69%] on hospital floors and 12 [31%] in the emergency department [ED]) received virtual monitoring over a total of 2318 monitoring hours.
The goal of this analysis was to assess the number of adverse events among patients who received virtual monitoring for suicide risk. It found that no adverse behavioral events were reported among this group of patients.
This study shows that appropriately identified patients who are at risk for suicide can feasibly be monitored in the general hospital and ED settings using virtual monitoring.