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An implementation evaluation of “Zero Suicide” using normalization process theory to support high-quality care for patients at risk of suicide

Suicide rates continue to rise across the United States, galvanizing the need for increased suicide prevention and intervention efforts. The Zero Suicide (ZS) model was developed in response to this need and highlights four key clinical functions of high-quality health care for patients at risk of suicide. The goal of this quality improvement study was to understand how six large health care systems operationalized practices to support these functions-identification, engagement, treatment and care transitions. Using a key informant interview guide and data collection template, researchers who were embedded in each health care system cataloged and summarized current and future practices supporting ZS, including, (1) the function addressed; (2) a description of practice intent and mechanism of intervention; (3) the target patient population and service setting; (4) when/how the practice was (or will be) implemented; and (5) whether/how the practice was documented and/or measured. Normalization process theory (NPT), an implementation evaluation framework, was applied to help understand how ZS had been operationalized in routine clinical practices and, specifically, what ZS practices were described by key informants (coherence), the current state of norms/conventions supporting these practices (cognitive participation), how health care teams performed these practices (collective action), and whether/how practices were measured when they occurred (reflexive monitoring). The most well-defined and consistently measured ZS practices (current and future) focused on the identification of patients at high risk of suicide. Stakeholders also described numerous engagement and treatment practices, and some practices intended to support care transitions. However, few engagement and transition practices were systematically measured, and few treatment practices were designed specifically for patients at risk of suicide. The findings from this study will support large-scale evaluation of the effectiveness of ZS implementation and inform recommendations for implementation of high-quality suicide-related care in health care systems nationwide.

Authors: Richards, Julie E; Sterling, Stacy A; Ahmedani, Brian K; et al.

Implement Res Pract. 2021 Jan 01;2. Epub 2021-05-24.

PubMed abstract

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