The Joint Commission is placing added emphasis on the assessment of ligature, suicide and self-harm observations in psychiatric hospitals and inpatient psychiatric patient areas in general hospitals during its site surveys. The Joint Commission says the heightened focus on suicide prevention in its survey process, which began earlier this month, coincides with the national Zero Suicide campaign that seeks to eliminate suicides in health care facilities.

Although the Joint Commission notes that while suicide is often an impulsive decision, there are still steps health care facilities can take to eliminate environmental risks.

Surveyors will assess six major areas:

  • Plans and policies on mitigation of harm posed by risks while removal occurs
  • Adequacy of staffing patterns to support these mitigation plans
  • The patient suicide risk-assessment process
  • Organization policies and practices related to actions needed for patients identified at risk
  • Policies and processes to ensure staff awareness of a patient’s level of risk
  • The organization’s internal processes for improvement, including:
    • The history of patient safety events and the process for root-cause analysis of these events
    • The organization’s process for monitoring compliance with its policies
    • Actions taken when noncompliance is identified

Deadline approaches to comment on OSHA health care violence-prevention standard

The window to submit contents and materials for the development of a new standard to prevent health care workplace violence ends April 6.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced in December that it is considering whether to develop a new violence-prevention standard, which will apply to social-assistance settings as well as health care facilities.

OSHA’s Request for Information provides an overview of the problem of workplace violence in the health care and social assistance sector and the measures that have been taken to address it. It also solicits information regarding the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the nature and effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent such violence. In addition, OSHA is looking for information on issues that might be considered in developing a standard, including scope and the types of controls that might be required.

Group releases simulation tool to evaluate health care mock-up designs

The Facility Guidelines Institute recommends a new evaluation tool to assess mock-up designs. The Simulation-based Mock-up Evaluation Framework, developed by the Health Quality Council of Alberta, can support the planning and evaluation of health care environment mock-ups.

The framework outlines a systematic way to collect and analyze data from full-scale mock-ups through the use of simulation, where individuals enact processes and procedures that will be performed in the space.

Joint Commission seeks comments on proposed suicide-prevention requirements

The Joint Commission has released proposed requirements to meet its National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) for suicide prevention in health care facilities. It is seeking input on the revisions for the NPSG for its hospital, critical access hospital and behavioral health accreditation programs. Comment periods for each program end May 1.