Quality of Care for Youth Hospitalized for Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm



      To examine performance on quality measures for pediatric inpatient suicidal ideation/self-harm care, and whether performance is associated with reutilization.


      Retrospective observational 8 hospital study of patients [N = 1090] aged 5 to 17 years hospitalized for suicidal ideation/self-harm between 9/1/14 and 8/31/16. Two medical records-based quality measures assessing suicidal ideation/self-harm care were evaluated, one on counseling caregivers regarding restricting access to lethal means and the other on communication between inpatient and outpatient providers regarding the follow-up plan. Multivariable logistic regression assessed associations between quality measure scores and 1) hospital site, 2) patient demographics, and 3) 30-day emergency department return visits and inpatient readmissions.


      Medical record documentation revealed that, depending on hospital site, 17% to 98% of caregivers received lethal means restriction counseling (mean 70%); inpatient-to-outpatient provider communication was documented in 0% to 51% of cases (mean 16%). The odds of documenting receipt of lethal means restriction counseling was higher for caregivers of female patients compared to caregivers of male patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.51, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07–2.14). The odds of documenting inpatient-to-outpatient provider follow-up plan communication was lower for Black patients compared to White patients (aOR 0.45, 95% CI, 0.24–0.84). All-cause 30-day readmission was lower for patients with documented caregiver receipt of lethal means restriction counseling (aOR 0.48, 95% CI, 0.28–0.83).


      This study revealed disparities and deficits in the quality of care received by youth with suicidal ideation/self-harm. Providing caregivers lethal means restriction counseling prior to discharge may help to prevent readmission.


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