Last June, KVC Hospitals was one of the 20 organizations selected throughout the nation to attend the second National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Zero Suicide Academy in Washington, D.C. (Read more: KVC Hospitals Aims for Zero Suicides in Our Communities). During the Academy, organizations were presented with tools and resources to enhance the safety of those in their care at risk for suicide. KVC’s children’s psychiatric hospitals, including KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., and KVC Wheatland Hospital in Hays, Kan., each year serve thousands of children and youth who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, feelings of violence and other challenges.
Zero Suicide Commitment
The ‘Zero Suicide’ approach, according to the National Action Alliance, is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral healthcare systems. It is also a specific set of tools and strategies, as well as a concept and a practice. Its core proposition is that suicide deaths for people under care are preventable. The bold goal of zero suicides among persons receiving care is an aspirational challenge that health systems should accept. The Zero Suicide approach aims to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk of suicide in health care systems. It represents a commit to patient safety, the most fundamental responsibility of health care. Also, to the safety and support of clinical staff who treat and support suicidal patients. Resources can be found at www.zerosuicide.com.
“It is our hope that the Zero Suicide philosophy will strengthen our trainings to both clinical and non-clinical staff members, physicians and nurses; guide us in identifying more useful and validated screens and assessments; expand our follow up services upon discharge, as well as leverage technology to improve how we flag and communicate vital information to all treatment team members,” said Astra Garner, Director of Clinical Operations at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital.
Expanding the Zero Suicide Commitment
Suicide prevention and safety is always the top priority at KVC Hospitals. The creation of the Zero Suicide Initiative committee will allow the use of the latest research to guide practice. The committee has created a new workforce skills and confidence training survey for all staff members at Prairie Ridge Hospital to complete. These surveys will collect vital information from our employees. It will allow the Zero Suicide Initiative committee to create trainings and programming. They will be tailored to the specific needs of Prairie Ridge.
As a result of their participation in the Zero Suicide Academy, KVC is pushing out a Zero Suicide initiative to employees at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital. The initiative will have developed programs, information dissemination and trainings. The creation of the Zero Suicide Initiative committee has allowed a structured and clinical approach to the implementation of Zero Suicide within KVC Prairie Ridge.
Derrick Hurst, Director of Hospital Services, will add the Zero Suicide Initiative to monthly employee trainings beginning in June. The Zero Suicide Initiative committee is also planning to participate in National Suicide Prevention Awareness month in September. (See related post: KVC Participates in Out of Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention)
Brittany Kroeger, Clinical Supervisor at KVC Wheatland, is currently creating the Zero Suicide Initiative Committee at KVC Wheatland Hospital. After Wheatland’s implementation team is created, they will plan and implement their own Zero Suicide commitment. This will be specific to their employee and programming needs.
“Zero Suicide is an incredibly valuable framework. It guides facilities in identifying ways to strengthen their systems by using evidence based approaches. It’s all in the name of working toward living in a world where there are zero suicides,” stated Astra Garner, Director of Clinical Operations.
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