Quote from lilredmc
I was working at 1 hospital suicides were 1:1. Now I work in the middle of nowhere & are expected 2 take suicide Pts w/regular pt load no sitter, & chart q15min. Is this legal?
I'm not sure that there are laws as to how a facility must monitor a patient who has expressed suicidal ideation because I know policies can vary between facilities and laws obviously vary between states. In my state, a suicide attempt will win you a 72 hr psych hold. Thinking back to my psych clinical in nursing school- it was at a world renowned psychiatric hospital and the unit I was on had a lot of failed suicide attempts. None of the patients were on 1:1 but they were on a different "level" which meant more frequent checks, I think? This was a long time ago so any psych nurses can feel free to chime in and correct me.
When I worked in acute care, any patient who expressed suicidal ideation or was admitted with a failed suicide attempt (saw a few teenagers in my day who tried overdosing on their prescribed anti-epileptics which bought them admission to my floor) had a 1:1 sitter who was required to be within arms length at all times... the patient was not permitted to be alone, ever. Once they could contract for safety, the restrictions were loosened.
There are, of course, a wide range of possibilities for patients with suicidality. If you had asked me when I was 21 years old, I probably would have admitted to being suicidal and wanting to die, but I never actually had a plan. "I hate my life and want to die" is different than "I have access to a gun and if you let me leave I'm going to blow my brains out" which is still different than "if you leave me I'm going to hang myself with my bed sheets."
I was once sent to the ER at a local hospital for a psych evaluation due to SI. They put me in a room with a rent-a-cop at the door, a psychiatrist came in, I said "I'm not going to kill myself" and they let me leave.