High-risk management guidelines for elderly suicidal patients in primary care settings
Older adults, especially older white men, are more likely to commit suicide than other age-groups. The assessment and management of suicide ideation and behavior for the elderly is especially relevant for primary care physicians because many patients visit their physician shortly before committing suicide. In 1993, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) released clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of depression in primary care settings. The AHCPR guidelines offered some assistance with respect to detecting and treating patients who are suicidal. However, these guidelines lacked detailed and specific instructions for managing high-risk patients within the context of intervention research. The current set of guidelines builds upon this previous work by describing (1) a general approach for interacting with suicidal patients; (2) structured assessments for determining the degree of risk for suicide; (3) crisis intervention strategies; and (4) ongoing management procedures for working with suicidal patients in primary care settings.