Joint Commission issues safety advisory on suicide screening tools

The Joint Commission issued a quick safety advisory on March 27 with best practices and guidelines related to suicide risk screening. 

The advisory states that when using validated screening tools, healthcare organizations should closely follow the tool's directions and not change the wording of questions, since small changes can affect accuracy. Clinical staff who conduct suicide screenings should be "trained and competent to do so," and training should include how the tool is used in overall suicide risk assessment and mitigation processes. 

"While there are numerous types of suicide screening tools available, any tool not used appropriately may hinder the intended results. Suicide screening tools help identify those at risk for suicide, whereas suicide risk assessment tools inform clinicians about a person's degree of risk of suicide, corroborate findings from clinical interviews, and may identify any discrepancy in risk," the safety advisory said. 

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