Dr. Ian Dawe
says that Ontario's in-hospital suicide rate is too high, noting that many hospitals in the United States are in the process of adopting what is known as a "zero suicide" strategy.
Dr. Ian Dawe
, physician-in-chief at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
in Whitby, is chair of a task force that will create new suicide prevention standards for Ontario hospitals by 2016.
Why new standards?
Hospitals have varying suicide-prevention policies, says Dawe, a psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto.
They mainly focus on observing patients every 15 or 30 minutes, but observation alone is "the completely wrong approach," he
There needs to be ongoing communication from health-care staff during times of transition," Dawe
says, adding that phone calls, texts and home visits are "proven and powerful" interventions.
Prevention is a group effort
It's not just about better clinical care, says Dawe
is also interested in the "zero suicide" approach that more than 150 U.S. health-care organizations are adopting, which aims for 100 per cent prevention.
What it takes to succeed
U.S. organizations that significantly reduced suicide rates did so by focusing on leadership, training, evidenced-based treatment, and identification and assessment of suicide risk, Dawe
"It's astounding, it's remarkable," he
exclaims of their success.
The hospital suicide rate is too high for psychiatrist Dr. Ian Dawe.
"We are committed to making in-hospital suicides a 'never-event'," he
said, noting that many hospitals in the United States are in the process of adopting what is known as a "zero suicide" strategy.
Last May, after the Star started investigating this story, the government created a task force to develop standards on suicide prevention in hospitals and appointed Dawe