Study Examines Suicide and Long-Term Care

July 31, 2015 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​From 2003 to 2011, about 3% of suicides of adults age 50 or older in one state had some connection to long-term care, reports a study in the July 2015 American Journal of Public Health. Over the nine-year period, 51 suicides and 8 undetermined violent deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. Among these 59 cases, the manner of injury was a firearm in 13 cases, hanging or suffocation in 13 cases, a fall in 10 cases, cutting in 9 cases, and poisoning in 9 cases. Mental and physical health issues that were identified as potential contributing factors included a mental health problem (58%), psychiatric treatment (54%), depressed mood (34%), physical health problems (29%), disclosed suicidal ideation (27%), and history of suicide attempts (22%). Only 12% had had problems with their spouse, family, or finances, and only 10% had experienced a crisis in the past two weeks.

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