Learning and Development,Nursing,

Clinical Hub,Nursing Hub,Nursing Practice Guidelines,Quick Help for Nurses,Resources

Suicide Precautions - Nursing Quick Help

Suicide Precautions - Nursing Quick Help - Clinical Hub, Nursing Hub, Nursing Practice Guidelines, Quick Help for Nurses, Resources

Hello Nurses and PSAs. We are
Nathan and Lynnda, the Clinical
Nurse Specialists Psychiatric
Liaisons. We are here to help with
common questions you may have
about sitting with a patient on
Suicide Precautions.
Quick Help for Nurses:
Patients on Suicide Precautions
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017
Nurses you may want to go over
some of this content with the
PSA/PSO. On each page you will
find a link to the full Suicide
Guideline, it has additional info for
PSAs on page 24. On the next page
you will find topics to help.

How to
Keep the
Patient Safe
How to watch
the patient on
is trying to
Leave. Patients
on Suicide
Precautions can
not leave, call
for help.
Everyone Safe.
(click to learn
Distractions and
Visitors: do not
allow visitors to
give anything to
the patient
without the RN.
Leaving the
Unit. Do not
leave the unit.
Watch the
patient in the

Quick Help for Nurses: Patients on
Suicide Precautions
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017
Please Click on
Any Subject to
Learn More
(including the
center one)

How to Keep the Patient Safe

Keep the environment
clean and safe: Scan it
for objects that could
be used for self harm.
should always be
able to see the
patients hands
PSA/PSOs should
always call the
nurse if anything
Your goal is keep
the patient from
The most
important thing is
to always watch
the patient
Never leave the
patient alone: this
includes in the
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

Patient is Trying to Leave

BERT, Security, Team
should all be used if
a patient on Suicide
Precautions leaves
or attempts to leave.

Be able to describe
them, what they
look like and are
wearing and where
they went (ie down
the E elevators) .
Remember to keep
yourself safe too.
90% of patients who
leave tell staff before
they do.
If they begin to talk about
leaving PSAs should get
the RN immediately. RNs
get the team, security or
PSAs should not
physically stop them, ask
them to wait for the
RN/MD and ask them
please to stay.
Do not get in their way or
block doors/exits and do
not follow them into an
elevator or stairs.
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

Environment: Keeping
Everyone Safe
Always scan
the room for
safety every
time you
Highest risk is
from the
patient’s own
(drugs) or things
that are brought
in by visitors
remove things
that could be
used as
weapons, call
lights, scissors
Always be able
to see the
patients hands
and face. If they
are turned away
you can’t be
sure they are
Pts. should have
plastic utensils
and should be
monitored when
eating, you must
call dietary for
Sharps can be
removed, keep
the room free of
items that could
be used for
strangulation or
self harm
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

How to Watch the Patient on
Suicide Precautions
Always keep the
environment safe:
remove items that
could be used for
self harm. Ask the
Always be able to
see their
The highest risk
in the med/surg
setting is
overdosing on
meds from
home or leaving
The bathroom
is the highest
risk area,
always watch
the patient
If you are
watching the
patient in the
bathroom get
another staff
If someone is
not listening or
refusing your
directions call
the RN or Team
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

Do Not Leave the Unit: Keeping
Everyone Safe
Don’t take
patient off
the unit
Never go off the
unit with a
patient on
unless it is for a
Walking can be
done on the unit
itself with RN
permission only,
never off the
Don’t take
someone to the
healing garden
or off the unit
for any reason
accompany the
patient and let
them know why
you are with
Never take a
patient out to
smoke, it is
against policy
and puts you
and the patient
in danger
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

Distractions and Support

Patients often know
why you are sitting
there but be honest
with them

If they begin to get
upset call the RN,
CTL or Team
Health Psychology,
Spiritual Care,
Psychiatry and
Nursing can all
provide support
Do not do therapy,
you are there to
keep them safe
Talk about simple
subjects, pets,
home, interests
Offer available
distractions such
as music, TV, radio,
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017

Visitors: Understanding what to
do with Suicide Precautions
Patients and Visitors
Visitors should not give anything to the patient
without it going through the nurse. Many patients
have harmed themselves with medication brought in.
Visitors have brought medications to patients who
then overdosed on those medications.
Visitors or family can not replace a PSA/PSO, only our
staff can sit with the patient on Suicide Precautions.
If you have questions or problems get the RN
immediately. If the patient appears to be upset due to
a visitor or phone call let the RN know or Team know.
Question about care should go to the RN, remember
HIPPA when talking with visitors .
Nursing Practice Innovation, 2017