Pennsylvania hospital cited over safety issue

State health officials cited St. Luke's Hospital-Monroe Campus for failing to properly monitor a patient experiencing suicidal ideation, The Morning Call reported March 27.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health investigated the Stroudsburg, Pa.-based hospital in November after leaders voluntarily reported a safety event that occurred two months prior. The hospital admitted a patient experiencing suicidal thoughts, alcohol withdrawal, manic delirium and a skin infection to the hospital's inpatient psychiatric unit on Sept. 15 under one-to-one observation. 

On Sept. 16, the patient was switched to virtual observation, but there was no documentation about changes to their suicide status, per hospital policy. On Sept. 17, caregivers caught the patient trying to wrap a pillowcase around their neck, and the individual was placed back on one-to-one observation. 

"The patient received excellent care, was always safe and suffered zero harm. This is about documentation," Don Seiple, president of St. Luke's-Monroe, told The Morning Call. "The state's report identified opportunities for St. Luke's to make its internal reporting processes even better so as to improve the documentation of treatment involving the remote monitoring of behavioral health patients — and we have already updated our internal guidance accordingly."

The hospital is also reeducating staff members on the hospital's suicide risk screening and prevention policy, and auditing all records of patients at risk for suicide to ensure proper protocols are being followed, among other corrective actions. 

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