Suicide during Transition of Care: a Review of Targeted Interventions

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The Psychiatric quarterly


The risk of suicide is significant during the transition of care; the highest in the first few weeks after discharge from a healthcare facility. This systematic review summarizes the evidence for interventions providing care during this high-risk period. In January 2019, PubMed and Scopus were systematically searched using the search terms: Suicide AND (Hospital OR Emergency department) AND Discharge. Articles relevant to interventions targeting suicidal behaviors during the transition of care were selected after the title and abstract screening followed by full-text screening. This review article included 40 articles; with a total patient population of 24,568. The interventions included telephone contacts, letters, green cards, postcards, structured visits, and community outreach programs. An improvement in the engagement of patients in outpatient services was observed but the evidence for suicidal behaviors was conflicting. The reviewed interventions were efficacious in linking patients to outpatient services, reducing feelings of social isolation and helping patients in navigating the available community resources. For patients with repetitive suicidal behaviors, psychosocial interventions such as dialectical behavioral therapy can be helpful. Patients should be followed by targeted interventions based on risk categorization of the patients by using evidence-based tools.

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ePub ahead of print