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Implementing a Safety Plan and Using Follow-up Postcards to Mitigate Suicide Risk in Patients in the Emergency Department

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Suicide has become a national concern due to the increasing rates across the country. The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention aims to improve the area of clinical prevention. Emergency departments (ED) play a key role in addressing this effort

Suicide has become a national concern due to the increasing rates across the country. The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention aims to improve the area of clinical prevention. Emergency departments (ED) play a key role in addressing this effort as they have multiple opportunities to connect with patients who are at risk. There exists a high-risk period of time immediately following a patient’s discharge from emergency care. To address this period of concern, a review of the literature was conducted on the effectiveness of follow-up contacts as a means to prevent suicide and suicide related attempts in this at-risk population.

Based on this review, a follow-up intervention was proposed to increase patients’ social support and knowledge on suicide prevention through a safety plan and the use of caring postcards. The aim was to evaluate the degree to which implementation of a safety plan and follow-up using postcards reduces suicide risk in the ED. ED suicide prevention practices such as safety planning and caring contacts with postcards have shown to be feasible and cost-effective methods to reduce patients’ risk of suicide as they provide education and address the high-risk period of time after discharge.

Using a quasi-experimental pre and post-test design, English speaking adults 18 years of age and older, admitted to an ED in the Phoenix Metropolitan area with suicidal ideation, were voluntarily recruited for two weeks. The self-rated Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R) was used as a baseline assessment along with the introduction of a safety plan. Participants were then followed with the receipt of postcards with caring messages over a two-week period, and a final SBQ-R. The SBQ-R has shown beneficial reliability and validity measuring suicidality in the adult population. Data from the pre-SBQ-R was analyzed using descriptive statistics as no post-SBQ-Rs were received. Outcomes for this project included a reduction in suicidal ideation and suicide risk.

This project provides insight into the implementation of a safety plan and follow-up intervention in the ED and their attempts to reduce acute suicide risk as well as highlight the value that post-ED support provides.

Keywords: suicide, prevention, safety plan, caring messages, postcards, emergency department, follow-up, contacts, brief intervention

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2019-04-29

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Reducing Polypharmacy with Mobile Apps Among Mental Health Patients

Description

Polypharmacy among psychiatric patients is a concerning trend. From 2007-2010, 58.2% of women and 41.8% of men reported taking five or more prescription drugs within the last 30 days (CDC, 2014). Negative outcomes include prescription drug abuse, side effects, interactions,

Polypharmacy among psychiatric patients is a concerning trend. From 2007-2010, 58.2% of women and 41.8% of men reported taking five or more prescription drugs within the last 30 days (CDC, 2014). Negative outcomes include prescription drug abuse, side effects, interactions, treatment failure, patient dissatisfaction, and lack of treatment control. The associated practice challenges have led to the following PICOT question. In persons with mental health issues receiving care at an outpatient mental health clinic, does engaging in mindfulness practice versus no mindfulness practice change polypharmacy use over a 3-month period?

The project purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of Insight Timer mobile mindfulness app at helping patients self-manage distressing symptoms and reduce polypharmacy. Over three weeks, mental health clinic nurse practitioners (NPs) voluntarily recruited patients (n=12) over age 18 using as needed prescriptions (PRNs), and agreed to use Insight Timer mobile mindfulness app for adjunct symptom management. Consenting participants downloaded the mobile app, and completed a brief questionnaire measuring PRN use at the start of app use, and PRN use at their next visit. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test indicated a 10-week mindfulness app trial did not significantly lower total PRN doses compared with pre-app dosing (Z = -.534, p = .593). Paired t-tests revealed no significant change in pre (M = 65.17, SD = 28.64) versus post (M = 67.75, SD = 20.22) OQ45 life functionality results (t(11) = -.420, p = .683) (d = .121) as a result of app use.

Clinically relevant results illustrated 83.33% of participants taking greater than nine PRN doses over the study period used the app six times or more in place of medication. High PRN users employed the app frequently in place of medication regardless of total PRN doses taken. Practice implications and sustainability recommendations include incorporating mobile app use in treatment plans for high PRN users and educating NP’s on the tangible benefits of mindfulness apps in reducing polypharmacy and easing symptom distress on an ongoing basis.
Keywords: mindfulness, mhealth, mobile apps, mobile smart phone, online, RCT, behavior change, polypharmacy.

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2019-04-29