How to Evaluate Suicidal Patients

It is often necessary to evaluate suicidal patients, in order to make an informed decision on how to handle them. While dealing with suicidal patients, you realize that each case is unique. Some of them are individuals who are only experiencing suicidal ideation, but have not yet considered acting upon the same. Others are individuals who have experienced suicidal ideation, considered acting upon the same, but they haven’t yet taken any action in that regard. At yet another level, you have individuals who have actually attempted suicide… So you are dealing with a broad spectrum of cases. And that is what makes it necessary for you to subject every patient you encounter to evaluation, so as to figure out what the best way to handle that individual patient is.

Some of the specific ways in which you can evaluate suicidal patients include:

  1. Through interviews with the patients
  2. By simply looking at the patients keenly
  3. By looking at reference notes for the patients
  4. By looking at the patients’ medical histories

The most important thing here is to ensure that you are objective in your evaluation. You therefore need to be present-minded, while evaluating the patients. You can’t afford to be absent-minded, while evaluating the suicidal patients. Yet there are so many distractions. For instance, you may have received a credit card offer from Capital One. This would mean that, while evaluating the suicidal patients, you would also be thinking of how to respond to Capital One offer. You may be specifically thinking in terms of where you placed the letter containing the Capital One credit card reservation number. With all these thoughts at the back of your mind, it would be very hard for you to evaluate the suicidal patients objectively. So it is important for you to ensure that you are fully presented-minded, while evaluating the patients. The objective is to ensure that you put the patient through the right treatment plan, to ensure that their condition doesn’t deteriorate further.

Equipping Psychiatric Nurses to Handle Suicidal Patients

Psychiatric nurses are among the professionals who are likely to have to deal with suicidal patients as part of their day to day work. It is therefore critical to ensure that they are well equipped to handle such patients. Sometimes, a psychiatric nurse will find himself having to counsel a suicidal patient, in an effort to dissuade the patient from acting on his suicidal motivations. At other times, a psychiatric nurse may actually find himself having to physically restrain a suicidal patient from, say, jumping off the ward. So the psychiatric nurse needs to be well equipped to deal with these sorts of scenarios.

To ensure that psychiatric nurses are well placed to handle suicidal patients, we will need to:

  1. Change the training curriculum for psychiatric nurses: the emphasis should be on equipping the nurses to deal (practically) with the various situations they are likely to encounter in their work. We need a departure from the present situation where a lot of emphasis is placed on getting the student nurses to master terminologies and the theoretical aspects of nursing.
  2. Change the internship programs for psychiatric nurses: the objective here should be to ensure that the nurses get adequate exposure to psychiatric wards. This way, they can be given practical demonstrations on how to handle various types of patients – including the suicidal ones.
  3. Change the recruitment matrix for psychiatric nurses: the objective here is to ensure that the people who are recruited to work as psychiatric nurses are those who have the emotional (and, when necessary the physical) strength necessary to handle suicidal patients. We may need to change the remuneration structure for psychiatric nurses, by increasing it — so as to attract the best people. There is absolutely no reason as to why we should insist on having uniform pay for all nurses. On the contrary, nurses’ pay should reflect the responsibilities they have to deal with. Even in ordinary organizations, people don’t get uniform pay. Rather, pay tends to be pegged on responsibility. That is why, for instance, if you go through the Mypepsico payroll you are likey to discover that different cadres of staff at PepsiCo earn different sums of money. And the staff themselves, while logging in at the Mypepsico sso login page, don’t do so expecting to get uniform pay. They know that different responsibility levels call for different pay-scales.  The same should surely apply to nurses – where the likes of psychiatric nurses, who have to deal with suicidal patients (and other types of difficult patients) should be adequately compensated for the extra work they have to do.

How to Handle Suicidal Patients

As a mental health practitioner, you are bound to encounter suicidal patients from time to time. Some of these may be patients who have been rescued in the course of attempted suicide. Others may be patients who have not yet gotten to the point of attempting to take their own lives, but who nonetheless have suicidal ideation in their minds. Either way, the patients have to be handled in a special way.

Prioritizing the treatment of suicidal patients

The treatment of suicidal patients needs to be prioritized. In most cases, the people who attempt suicide tend to have underlying depressive disorders. Therefore, the appropriate antidepressant medications have to be identified, for use in the treatment of the said patients. Then the right doses have to be worked out, and the treatment plans implemented urgently.

Using a multi-faceted approach to the treatment of suicidal patients

Besides medication, it is often necessary to use counseling and behavioral therapy (alongside cognitive therapy) in the treatment of suicidal patients. So this is what is referred to as a multi-faceted approach in the treatment of suicidal patients. It is not enough to just prescribe anti-depressant medications for the patients. Sometimes, you have to go further, and address the issues that are driving the people to have suicidal thoughts. Often, those turn out to be simple practical issues. It may be, for instance, a case where a person recently went to my employee login portal and signed in – only to find that he had lost his job. And that is what is driving him to have suicidal ideation. In that case, besides giving him anti-depressant medication, you have to help him think of alternative things he can do to get another job.

Keeping a watchful eye on the suicidal patients

Before the medication takes effect, the patients will still be having suicidal ideation. Hence the need to keep a watchful eye on them (by, for instance, keeping them in specially designed wards, and ensuring that there is always a nurse watching over them).

Notifying the authorities about suicidal patients

This is tricky, given the issues that surround doctor-patient confidentiality. But it is often necessary to notify the authorities about patients who have suicidal ideation – although the need for this has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

How to Finance the Treatment of Suicidal Patients

The treatment of suicidal patients tends to be quite costly. Usually, suicidal patients have to be treated using expensive anti-depressant medications, on a long-term basis. Furthermore, suicidal patients have to be taken through numerous (expensive) counseling sessions. All these cost a lot of money. And the question that comes up is as to how such treatment can be financed. That is the question we will be addressing in today’s article, as we look at the options that are available when it comes to financing the treatment of suicidal patients.

The patient’s relatives

One option that is available, when it comes to financing the treatment of suicidal patients, is the one where the cost of treatment can be catered for by the patient’s relatives. If, for instance, the patient in question is a teenager, and his parents work for a company like, say, Walmart, they can decide to use their earnings to finance his treatment. The parent in question may go to the site where he usually accesses his Walmartone schedule (that is, the Walmart employees portal), and sign in through the Wm1 login page. He may then visit the ‘financials’ section, to see how much money he is expecting in the next paycheck, so as to figure out how much money he can devote to the kid’s treatment…

Charitable organizations

Another option that is available, with respect to financing the treatment of suicidal patients, is where the cost of treatment can be catered for by charitable organizations. There are charitable organizations that specifically deal with these matters, and they can be of great help – especially for patients whose relatives are totally unable to cater for the treatment costs.

The patient’s own resources

Yet another way in which the treatment of suicidal patients can be financed is through the use of the patients’ own resources. Sometimes, the suicidal patients turn out to be people of means.

Government assistance

At yet another level, we often see the government chipping in, towards the treatment of suicidal patients. There are programs specifically designed to cater for such costs. Those too can come in hand in financing the treatment — especially for patients who are able to demonstrate that they are truly needy.