Support Safe Care Transitions and Create Organizational Linkages
Effective transitions in care—for example, when a person with suicide risk engages with outpatient mental health services following an emergency department visit—can help reduce suicide risk among persons receiving health or behavioral health services. Unfortunately, far too often, these persons fail to connect with needed services, particularly following a suicidal crisis.
Planning for care transitions, and making them as easy as possible for patients and providers, is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.
- Make a follow-up appointment for the patient before discharge from the hospital or inpatient psychiatric facility (ideally, for within 48 hours of discharge).
- Involve family, friends, and other loved ones in the plans for care transition.
- Make follow-up contacts (e.g., by e-mail, text, phone calls) with the patient and check with providers to make sure that the person is receiving follow-up care.
- Develop agreements among hospitals, behavioral health providers, crisis centers, and others to facilitate safe transitions between settings.
- Transmit patient health information to referral providers.