Comorbidity profiles identified in older primary care patients who attempt suicide
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Dec 13, 2019
Morin RT, et al. - Researchers used national data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA; 2012-2014) to determine the comorbidity profiles of older patients last seen in primary care before a suicide attempt. They also evaluated attempts and clinical factors (eg, means and lethality of attempt) related to these profiles, as well as latent class analysis. This study was performed at all VA medical centers in the United States, and included 2,131 patients 65 years and older (mean age: 74.4 years; 98.2% male). Based on medical and psychiatric diagnoses, patients were clustered into five categories: Minimal Comorbidity (23.2%); Chronic Pain-Osteoarthritis (30.1%); Depression-Chronic Pain (22.9%); Depression-Medical Comorbidity (16.5%); and High Comorbidity (7.3%). They researchers found that in primary care patients attempting suicide, most comorbidity profiles (> 50%) were described by minimal depression diagnoses and fatal attempts, often with firearms. They suggested that more than a depression diagnosis factors into the risk of suicide. In the context of suicide intervention and prevention, conversations concerning firearm safety by medical providers may play a crucial role, noted the researchers.
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