The role of suicide risk in the decision for psychiatric hospitalization after a suicide attempt

Marta Miret, Roberto Nuevo, Consuelo Morant, Enrique Sainz-Cortón, Miguel Ángel Jiménez-Arriero, Juan J López-Ibor, Blanca Reneses, Jerónimo Saiz-Ruiz, Enrique Baca-García, José Luis Ayuso-Mateos
Crisis 2011, 32 (2): 65-73

BACKGROUND: Suicide prevention can be improved by knowing which variables physicians take into account when considering hospitalization or discharge of patients who have attempted suicide.

AIMS: To test whether suicide risk is an adequate explanatory variable for predicting admission to a psychiatric unit after a suicide attempt.

METHODS: Analyses of 840 clinical records of patients who had attempted suicide (66.3% women) at four public general hospitals in Madrid (Spain).

RESULTS: 180 (21.4%) patients were admitted to psychiatric units. Logistic regression analyses showed that explanatory variables predicting admission were: male gender; previous psychiatric hospitalization; psychiatric disorder; not having a substance-related disorder; use of a lethal method; delay until discovery of more than one hour; previous attempts; suicidal ideation; high suicidal planning; and lack of verbalization of adequate criticism of the attempt.

CONCLUSIONS: Suicide risk appears to be an adequate explanatory variable for predicting the decision to admit a patient to a psychiatric ward after a suicide attempt, although the introduction of other variables improves the model. These results provide additional information regarding factors involved in everyday medical practice in emergency settings.

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