Preventing Patient Suicide: Clinical Assessment and Management

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Robert I. Simon, M.D., a preeminent psychiatrist and prolific author on the subject of law and psychiatry, offers a pragmatic and empathic guide for clinicians grappling with that most critical of questions: How can I protect my patients from themselves? Though even the most conscientious psychiatrist cannot prevent every suicide, suicide risk can be assessed, managed, and reduced. Dr. Simon acknowledges that the professional environment in which clinicians now practice is often inhospitable to the time-consuming task of understanding the patient; yet "Know thy patient" is his theme and imperative. Readers will benefit from the instructive case examples and commentary.

Suicide risk assessment is a core competency that draws on both art and science. In Preventing Patient Suicide: Clinical Assessment and Management, Dr. Simon synthesizes his clinical experience, the shared clinical experiences of colleagues, and the evidence-based psychiatric literature to create an insightful guide which should be an essential component in any practicing psychiatrist's library.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Written for clinicians whose practice involves the assessment and treatment of suicidal patients, this book offers an evidence-based approach to understanding and documenting a complete suicide risk assessment.
Purpose: Though there are many books on suicide (including others penned by this author), this book attempts to address the issue from a clinical standpoint with the shared experience of colleagues and evidence-based psychiatric literature.
Audience: This work is directed at clinicians (social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, and various trainees) who are constantly exposed to, and responsible for, assessing and managing patients with suicidal ideation.
Features: Built primarily on the premise of understanding and identifying the aspects of a complete suicide risk assessment, each chapter of the initial section addresses an aspect of assessment, including the importance of appreciating protective factors against suicide risk. Similarly, chapters in the second section on management tackle issues such as gun safety, suicide risk assessment forms, and most importantly, myths associated with suicidal ideation. Extensive case examples are included, and an appendix contains a suicide risk assessment self-test to highlight critical points. Correct answers, as well as brief explanations, are offered for clarification.
Assessment: I have reviewed a number of Dr. Simon's books, at least a few of which involve the topic of suicide (i.e., The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006)), and this one is an excellent source of information, not only for those new to seeing patients in mental healthcare settings, but also for veteran clinicians. Chapters are relatively brief, but contain volumes of evidence-based data meant to improve a clinician's knowledge, with the added benefit of improving patient safety. The chapter regarding suicide risk assessment forms is vital, and the chapters outlining a complete suicide risk assessment (i.e. including assessing positive factors against suicide risk) are very well done. Overall, this is an outstanding book typical of Dr. Simon's efforts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585629343
  • Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/18/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 235
  • Sales rank: 1,206,119
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert I. Simon, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Psychiatry and Law in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He is also Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Bethesda, Maryland.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Table of Contents

Foreword Jan Fawcett ix

Preface Robert I. Simon xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Part I Assessment

1 Suicide Risk Assessment: A Gateway to Treatment and Management 3

2 Enhancing Suicide Risk Assessment Through Evidence-Based Psychiatry 39

3 Assessing and Enhancing Protective Factors Against Suicide Risk 51

4 Behavioral Risk Assessment of the Guarded Suicidal Patient 59

5 Psychiatric Disorders and Suicide Risk 71

6 Sudden Improvement in Patients at High Risk for Suicide: Real or Feigned? 83

Part II Management

7 Patients at Acute and Chronic High Risk for Suicide: Crisis Management 97

8 Safety Management of the Patient at Risk for Suicide: Coping With Uncertainty 115

9 Gun Safety Management of Suicidal Patients: A Collaborative Approach 135

10 Suicide Risk Assessment Forms: Clinician Beware 151

11 Imminent Suicide, Passive Suicidal Ideation, and Other Intractable Myths 159

12 Quality Assurance Review of Suicide Risk Assessments: Reality and Remedy 177

13 Therapeutic Risk Management of the Patient at Risk for Suicide: Clinical-Legal Dilemmas 187

Appendix: Suicide Risk Assessment Self-Test 203

Index 215

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