July 24, 2024

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Study Links Suicide to Missed Early Care After Discharge

2 min read


A study found that patients who die by suicide within a year after discharge from inpatient mental health care are less likely to have primary care consultation in the first 2 weeks, highlighting a gap during the high-risk transition period.


  • Researchers used a nested case-control study design, analyzing the records of 613 people who died by suicide within a year of being discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility in England between 2001 and 2019.
  • Of these, 93 (15.4%) died within 2 weeks of discharge.
  • Each patient was matched with up to 20 control individuals who were discharged at a similar time but were living.
  • Researchers evaluated primary care consultations after discharge.


  • People who died by suicide within a year were less likely to have had a primary care consultation within 2 weeks of discharge (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.61; P = .01).
  • Those who died by suicide had higher odds for a consultation in the week preceding their death (aOR, 1.71; < .001) and the prescription of three or more psychotropic medications (aOR, 1.73; P < .001).
  • Evidence of discharge communication between the facility and primary care clinician was infrequent, highlighting a gap in continuity of care.
  • Approximately 40% of people who died within 2 weeks of discharge had a documented visit with a primary care clinician during that period.


“Primary care clinicians have opportunities to intervene and should prioritize patients experiencing transition from inpatient care,” the authors wrote.


The study was led by Rebecca Musgrove, PhD, of the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at The University of Manchester in Manchester, England, and published online on June 12 in BJGP Open.


The study’s reliance on individuals registered with the Clinical Practice Research Datalink may have caused some suicide cases to be excluded, limiting generalizability. Lack of linked up-to-date mental health records may have led to the omission of significant post-discharge care data. Incomplete discharge documentation may undercount informational continuity, affecting multivariable analysis.


The study was supported by the National Institute of Health and Care Research. Some authors declared serving as members of advisory groups and receiving grants and personal fees from various sources.

This article was created using several editorial tools, including AI, as part of the process. Human editors reviewed this content before publication.


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