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Locked Doors May Not Prevent Inpatient Suicide, Absconding

Treatment on open wards linked to lower odds of suicide attempts, absconding with and without return

MONDAY, Aug. 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For patients in psychiatric wards, treatment on locked wards seems not to prevent suicide, suicide attempts, or absconding, according to a study published online July 28 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Christian G. Huber, M.D., from Universität Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a 15-year naturalistic observational study involving 349,574 admissions to 21 German psychiatric inpatient hospitals. Propensity score matching was used to select 145,738 cases for an analysis of the causal inference on the effect of ward type on suicide, suicide attempts, and absconding.

The researchers found that hospitals with an open door policy did not have increased odds of suicide (odds ratio [OR], 1.326; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.803 to 2.113), suicide attempts (OR, 1.057; 95 percent CI, 0.787 to 1.412), and absconding with return (OR, 1.288; 95 percent CI, 0.874 to 1.929) and without return (OR, 1.090; 95 percent CI, 0.722 to 1.659). Treatment on open versus locked wards was associated with reduced odds of suicide attempts (OR, 0.658; 95 percent CI, 0.504 to 0.864), absconding with return (OR, 0.629; 95 percent CI, 0.524 to 0.764), and absconding without return (OR, 0.707; 95 percent CI, 0.546 to 0.925); the odds of completed suicide were not reduced (OR, 0.823; 95 percent CI, 0.376 to 1.766).

“Locked doors might not be able to help prevent suicide and absconding,” the authors write.

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