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The 'no suicide contract': helpful or harmful?

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  • 1Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Boston, USA.


1. Contracting for Safety (CFS) has become an integral part of nursing practice but never has been subjected to scientific scrutiny. 2. Clinical reasons for avoiding the use of contracting with some patient populations exist, including that some patients may construe CFS as a failure of empathy by the caregiver. 3. CFS can, in some instances, be helpful in establishing a therapeutic relationship or aiding in assessment, but never should be the sole basis for determining a patient's lethality.

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