Effects of Training on Suicide Risk Assessment

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Abstract

Objective

This study evaluated the impact of structured training in evidence-based risk assessment for suicide.

Methods

Forty-five psychiatry and psychology trainees participated in a workshop on evidence-based risk assessment. A comparison group of ten psychiatry trainees participated in a different workshop on the application of evidence-based medicine to psychiatry that was not focused specifically on risk assessment. Before and after each workshop, participants rated their skills in assessing patients' risk of suicide and wrote progress notes regarding clinical vignettes that included the assessment of and plan regarding suicide risk. Researchers systematically rated the progress notes.

Results

Participation in risk assessment training predicted improvement on specific indicators of documentation quality, ratings of the overall quality of documentation of suicide risk, and self-rated competence in suicide risk assessment.

Conclusions

Structured clinical training in evidence-based risk assessment can improve documentation of assessment and management of patients' risk of suicide.

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