ED-SAFE Investigators: Marian E. Betz, MD, MPH, University of Colorado Hospital; Jeffrey M. Caterino, MD, The Ohio State University Medical Center; Talmage Holmes, PhD, MPH, University of Arkansas Medical Center; Maura Kennedy, MD, MPH, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Frank LoVecchio, DO, MPH, Maricopa Medical Center; Lisa A. Uebelacker, PhD, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island; and Wesley Zeger, DO, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Multicenter Study of Predictors of Suicide Screening in Emergency Departments
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2012
© 2012 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Academic Emergency Medicine
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 239–243, February 2012
How to Cite
Ting, S. A., Sullivan, A. F., Miller, I., Espinola, J. A., Allen, M. H., Camargo, C. A., Boudreaux, E. D. and on behalf of the Emergency Department Safety and Follow-up Evaluation (ED-SAFE) Investigators (2012), Multicenter Study of Predictors of Suicide Screening in Emergency Departments. Academic Emergency Medicine, 19: 239–243. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01272.x
This project was supported by Award Number U01MH088278 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.
Supervising Editor: Lowell Gerson, PhD.
- Issue published online: 9 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2012
- Received May 26, 2011; revision received July 26, 2011; accepted July 28, 2011.
Objectives: The objective was to provide estimates and predictors of screening for suicide in emergency departments (EDs).
Methods: Eight geographically diverse U.S. EDs each performed chart reviews of 100 randomly selected patients, ages 18 years or older, with visits in October 2009. Trained chart abstractors collected information on patient demographics, presentation, discharge diagnosis, suicide screening, and other mental health indicators. Univariate logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with suicide screening.
Results: The cohort of 800 patients had a median age of 41 years (interquartile range = 27 to 53 years) with 57% female, 16% Hispanic, 58% white, 23% black or African American, and 10% other race. Suicide screenings were documented for 39 patients (4.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.4% to 6.4%). Of those screened, 23 (2.9% of total sample; 95% CI = 1.7% to 4.0%) were positive for suicidal ideation or behavior. Approximately 90% of those screened had documented complaints of a psychiatric nature at triage. About one-third had either documentation of alcohol abuse (33%) or intentional illegal or prescription drug misuse (36%).
Conclusions: The presence of known psychiatric problems and substance use had the strongest associations with suicide screening, yet even patients presenting with these indicators were not screened for suicide. Understanding factors that currently influence suicide screening in the ED will guide the design and implementation of improved suicide screening protocols and related interventions.
ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2012; 1–5 © 2012 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine