Objective: To determine whether continuous virtual monitoring, an intervention that facilitates patient observation through video technology, can be used to monitor suicide risk in the general hospital and emergency department (ED).
Method: This was a retrospective analysis of a protocol in which select patients on suicide precautions in the general hospital and ED received virtual monitoring between June 2017 and March 2018. The primary outcome was the number of adverse events among patients who received virtual monitoring for suicide risk. Secondary outcomes were the percentage of patients for whom virtual monitoring was discontinued for behavioral reasons and the preference for observation type among nurses.
Results: 39 patients on suicide precautions received virtual monitoring. There were 0 adverse events (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.000-0.090). Virtual monitoring was discontinued for behavioral reasons in 4/38 cases for which the reason for terminating was recorded (0.105, 95%CI = 0.029-0.248). We were unable to draw conclusions regarding preference for observation type among nurses due to a low response rate to our survey.
Conclusions: Suicide risk can feasibly be monitored virtually in the general hospital or ED when their providers carefully select patients for low impulsivity risk.
Keywords: Constant observation; Quality improvement; Safety; Suicide.
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