More than 2 million of the nation’s seniors reside in assisted living centers and nursing homes. A recent Kaiser Health News investigation found that suicide rates are climbing within these settings, suggesting that at least 364 suicides occur per year—one almost every day.
Safety In Senior Living
The sobering suicide statistics are an extraordinary wake up call for operators of senior care centers. They must pay closer attention to clinical risk factors for suicide, such as mental health disorders, physical decline and loneliness among their residents. But clinical factors aren’t the only aspects in suicide prevention.
At the same time, leaders should also take a closer look at incorporating anti-ligature options into their design strategies. By removing ligatures—places that would allow a rope or cord attachment for strangulation or hanging—centers improve safety.
Immediate safety issues concerning ligature points must be addressed in the physical space where seniors eat, sleep and go about their activities. This is especially critical for residents at highest risk for suicide.
Here, good furniture choice can play an important role.
For example, check out our Molded Plastic lines of beds, desks, tables and chairs that offer continuous surfaces with no opportunity for rope or cord attachment. The contract furniture pieces with their anti-ligature features are specially designed for safety in heavy use environments.
The senior population residing in assisted living and nursing home settings is projected to grow substantially in the next decade. By 2030, 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be age 65 or older, and one-third will likely need some type of long-term care. Healthcare leaders must re-examine their safety plans in the context of the emerging data on senior suicides.
You can read the entire Kaiser Health News article here: https://khn.org/news/suicide-seniors-long-term-care-nursing-homes/