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From The CriticsReviewer: John K. Larson, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This surprisingly comprehensive and provocative book on treatment of suicidal patients in an era of managed care contains nine chapters by a group of clinicians and one attorney.
Purpose: This book is intended to meet the need for a thorough overview of the topic of suicide assessment and prevention including philosophical, theoretical, ethical, legal, and professional issues. It is meant to provoke critical thinking, discussion, and ultimately to inform our decisions regarding the care of patients at risk for suicide, especially in an era of increased fiscal constraint.
Audience: The primary audience includes mental health professionals with a desire to explore the topic in some detail along with medical students, residents, and other mental health professionals in training. Attorneys practicing in mental health related fields also will find the book enlightening.
Features: The tone is set in the foreword, which outlines the apparent tension between advocacy for our patients and the increasing demands to provide care in the most cost-effective fashion possible. The foreword is followed by nine uniformly well-written chapters that include an overview of contemporary practice, the use of brief hospitalization and alternative levels of care, suicidal adolescents, suicide in the elderly, co-morbid substance abuse, treatment issues, risk management concerns, and assessment of risk. The book is filled with practical advice and contains an appendix with suggestions on getting the most from a managed care organization, which alone is worth the price of the book.
Assessment: This book should find its way into the hands of mental health clinicians of all disciplines and, hopefully, policymakers in managed care organizations. Although specifically addressing issues that arise in managed care settings, the book serves as an excellent review of the topic of suicide risk assessment and management. Any practicing mental health professional will benefit from a careful reading of this well-written book.