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Lower suicide rates associated with a Tele-Help/Tele-Check service for the elderly at home
Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:632-634.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to determine the impact on suicidal behavior of Tele-Help/Tele-Check, a telephone service designed to provide elderly people with home assistance. Tele-Help is an alarm system that the client can activate to call for help; in Tele-Check the client is contacted about twice a week for assessment of needs and for emotional support. METHOD: The authors determined the number of suicides among 12,135 elderly subjects who were connected to the Tele- Help/Tele-Check service in the Veneto region of Italy from Jan. 1, 1988, to Dec. 31, 1991, and compared it with the suicide rate for the general population in the Veneto region. RESULTS: Only one death by suicide was found in the elderly subjects connected to Tele-Help/Tele- Check, compared with the expected number of 7.44 for the general population (standardized mortality ratio = 13.44%). CONCLUSIONS: Since many of the traditional risk factors for suicide were concentrated in the elderly subjects studied, the Tele-Help/Tele-Check service appears to provide support of great interest for the prevention of suicide in the elderly.

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suicide ; elderly
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