Psychiatric consultation of all suicide-attempt patients during a one year period in a tertiary hospital.Isr Med Assoc J. 2013 Aug; 15(8):424-9.IM
Many tertiary hospitals provide psychiatric services that treat diverse clinical situations. Most patients referred to these services following a serious suicide attempt have psychiatric diagnoses, but their unique characteristics and needs are not known.
To examine the files of patients hospitalized in a tertiary hospital in Israel following a serious suicide attempt. Their mental conditions were determined and their unique demographic and clinical characteristics and needs compared to the other patients examined by the psychiatric service.
The study focused on 49 consecutive patients admitted after performing a life-threatening suicide attempt. They were compared to 389 non-suicidal patients assessed by the same psychiatric service during one year.
Nearly half the patients hospitalized following a serious suicide attempt had only an axis II diagnosis (personality disorder). Non-violent methods of suicide were used predominantly by females, and violent methods mainly by males. All suicide attempts by Muslims used violent methods, while less than half the attempts by Jews were violent. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, the suicide-attempters group was younger and had greater representation of Jewish females and Muslim males. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, these patients required more intense psychiatric care, earlier commencement of treatment in the course of hospitalization, more psychiatric visits and treatment hours, and more referrals for further care. Several risk factors appear to be associated with a need for more intense in-hospital care and a greater need for referral: male gender, religion, method of suicide attempt (violent vs. non-violent), and the existence of a psychiatric diagnosis.
Suicide-attempt patients who are in need of hospitalization for further medical treatment have unique clinical characteristics and require more intense treatment provided by the Consultation-Liaison Unit.