TJC Clarifies Use of Video Monitoring for Patients at High Risk for Suicide

PUBLISHED: Mar 7, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The Joint Commission (TJC) has issued a FAQ that clarifies the use of video monitoring or “electronic sitters” for patients identified as high risk for suicide requiring 1:1 visual observation.

According to TJC, using video monitoring/electronic sitters is not acceptable when the patient’s suicide risk requires a qualified staff member to be assigned to 1:1 patient observation. For these patients, the constant 1:1 visual observation needs to be implemented in a way that that allows the staff member to immediately intervene if a patient attempts self-harm.

TJC further clarifies that:

  • “The use of video monitoring would only be acceptable as a compliment to the 1:1 monitoring, and not acceptable as a stand-alone intervention.
  • For patients at high risk for suicide, video monitoring should only be used in place of direct line-of-sight monitoring when it is unsafe for a staff member to be physically located in the patient’s room.”

For direct line-of-sight and video monitoring of patients at high risk for suicide, monitoring has to be constant 1:1 (at all times, including while the patient sleeps, toilets, bathes, etc.) and the monitoring must be linked to immediate intervention by a qualified staff member when required.

Finally, according to TJC, video monitoring or electronic sitters for those patients not at high risk for suicide is at the “discretion of the organization.” TJC notes there are no current best practices on the use of video monitoring/electronic sitters for patients at risk for suicide.

TJC does remind providers that patients at risk for suicide should be regularly reassessed, regardless of the type of monitoring method used.

Follow the link below to review the FAQ in detail and for an example policy on suicide prevention.

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