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.
- risk assessment
- attempted suicide
- public hospitals
- general hospitals
- psychiatric department
- suicidal ideation
- emergency services
- patient admission
- logistic regression, observational descriptive study