Tips for assessing behavioral health units for ligature risks

The National Safety Council has designated June as its annual National Safety Month as a way to focus on “reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities.” The focus this week is on life safety. The excerpt is from Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, Third Edition, authored by Brad Keyes, CSHP.

Every behavioral health unit needs to be assessed for potential suicide hanging points. I am an advocate for a process that has a continuous risk assessment, conducted routinely (such as once a quarter), to make sure nothing has been overlooked—every assessment has a chance to uncover something new. The assessment itself simply evaluates any point on the unit where patients could potentially hang or harm themselves without the staff observing it. This primarily concerns the patient’s room and shower area, but could include any other room where patients are not continuously monitored.

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