Management of suicide attempts in Italy and Sweden. A comparison of services offered to consecutive samples of suicide attempters.
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The aim of the study was to compare the management of suicide attempts by patients in Sweden and Italy with a view to providing a perspective on differences in treatment. Two consecutive samples of suicide attempters from Huddinge (n=97) and Padua (n=100) were studied in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, previous care, referral, medical and psychiatric care, hospitalization, aftercare, and short-term compliance. In Italian somatic management of acute suicidal crises, there are more physicians specializing in anesthesia or internal medicine working in ambulances and emergency wards, and there is a heavier emphasis on somatic care. Swedish management procedures seem to entail more medical examinations and biohumoral tests. Moreover, the procedures at the Swedish hospital give priority to early psychiatric intervention, and admission to psychiatric inpatient care is more frequent. However, it is not normal practice in emergency psychiatric care at either of the centers for specialists to serve in the immediate liaison consultation. There are differences in assessment and treatment between the two countries that may provide a perspective on their procedures, implying that current procedures for managing patients belonging to groups identified as "high-risk" in terms of suicide may be modified.
General Hospital Psychiatry