Environmental risk factors in hospital suicide

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Winter 2004;34(4):448-53. doi: 10.1521/suli.34.4.448.53740.


Suicide of hospitalized patients is the most common sentinel event reviewed by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Shorter lengths of stay, sicker patients, and higher patient to staff ratios challenge the ability of the hospital to maintain safety. Risk factors associated with the physical environment of the inpatient psychiatric unit, cited as the most common root cause of inpatient suicide, may be neglected because evaluation of these factors is generally not included in medical education and training. Minimization of fixtures that can facilitate strangulation and other high risk aspects within the hospital environment is an important element in the prevention of suicide on psychiatric units.

MeSH terms

  • Environment*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*