Suicide Prevention Support at Wellstar
Suicides can be prevented, and it is vital to have a system-wide commitment to reducing suicides. Safe suicide care starts the moment a patient walks through the door for the first time, long before a patient may interact with a behavioral health team member. It is essential that we train a competent, confident, and caring workforce to identify and support patients who may be at risk of suicide while they receive care from us.
Zero Suicide is several things: an aspirational goal designed to catalyze transformational change, a suicide care model with specific practices for health systems to employ, and a movement seeking to make health care settings safer and more compassionate for people with suicidal thoughts and urges. Zero Suicide is a way to improve suicide care within health care systems. The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health care systems are preventable. Zero Suicide represents a culture shift away from fragmented suicide care toward a holistic and comprehensive approach to patient safety and quality improvement. Asking directly about suicide and responding appropriately should and could be as routine as having blood pressure, height and weight checked at every health care visit.
The Zero Suicide Core Elements align with Wellstar's values to guide our work to improve patient outcomes and save lives.
Adopting a "Zero-based" mindset happens by routinely and consistently embedding evidence-based practices focused on patient safety and offer hope and recovery for people at risk for suicide.
At Wellstar, we have a team dedicated to implementing the Zero Suicide framework. This team has trained thousands of Wellstar team members in QPR to have confidence when identifying patients with suicide risk using evidence-based tools. Team members who engage individuals at-risk of suicide on a suicide care management plan are trained to complete comprehensive risk assessments, collaborative safety plans, and counseling on access to lethal means. Through stepped-care case management, the Suicide Prevention team has supported patients to transition through care with over 3,000 completed Caring Outreach calls to over 900 individual patients.
With support from SunTrust and North Fulton Rotary, Wellstar trained over 150 community providers in Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality, an evidence-based treatment modality.