Monday, January 5, 2009

Suicide prevention mandatory for national accreditation

I found an important news article in my archives about the fact that now every hospital and nursing home must have an approved suicide prevention plan in order to receive national accreditation.

The article states:
By making suicide prevention a requirement, Canada is following the United States, where the accrediting Joint Commission requires hospitals and other health-care organizations to do the same.

According to Statistics Canada, 3,614 people died by suicide in 2004, the latest figures available. However, there are no national numbers on how many of those deaths were in hospitals or nursing homes.

In Ontario, there were 114 suicide deaths in hospital, 33 in long-term care homes and 39 in retirement homes, seniors residences and assisted-living centres from 1995 to 2005, according to the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

The article explains the connection between psychiatric illness and suicide. It states:
Paul Links, who holds the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies at the University of Toronto, said there is a strong relationship between suicide and psychiatric issues.

“If you look at people who died by suicide and you reconstruct their story, nine out of 10 people who died by suicide were suffering with psychiatric illness at the time of their death,” said Dr. Links, deputy chief of mental-health service at St. Michael's Hospital.

The article continued by explaining that many people with mental health issues find themselves waiting in line for care. This only leads to more suicide.

The article concludes that the medical system needs to follow people up after receiving care. People are often experiencing further mental health issues and a follow-up will identify these needs.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is further concerned that the gains that are being made in preventing suicide will be lost if assisted suicide were legalized.

The recent response to the Ganzini et al article explaining that 26% of the people in her study who had requested assisted suicide in the state of Oregon were depressed was simply to say "so what". Depressed people are more likely to want to die by assisted suicide.

Link to the article on depression and assisted suicide:

Link to the globe and mail article:

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