Managing and Assessing Suicidality With the CAMS Framework


Significant and positive patient outcomes of CAMS care include the following: Reductions in suicidal ideation, attempt behavior, and symptom distress; an increase in hope and patient satisfaction; better utilization of emergency services; and resolution of suicidality.7  For readers who want more depth, Jobes provides a comprehensive review of CAMS development, intervention and research in a 2012 paper.7  

CAMS is an effective, suicide-specific intervention, recommended in federal reviews of empirically-based best practices.15-18 The Veterans Health Administration (VA) has purchased a license to use the CAMS tracking system and the SSF as a clinical tool and template in the computerized electronic patient record system throughout the national VA.

My colleagues and I are completing a VA Health Services Research and Development-funded randomized trial examining provider adherence and provider and patient outcomes between in-person and e-learning (e-CAMS) deliveries of CAMS.6 The study targets interprofessional providers and patient and provider outcomes in five VA medical centers.19 

Analysis of data to this point has revealed there were significant improvements in learning for both CAMS delivery types. There were no significant differences between the learning modalities in relation to provider satisfaction and practice adoption. An analysis of self report of confidence, competence, reactions and beliefs between the learning modalities is in press.20 The research team has been invited to place the e-CAMS version on the VA Talent Management System and  Department of Defense learning platforms.

The CAMS training presented at the APNA meeting was based on the manualized e-CAMS version tailored for VA mental health providers.5,19 Three modules were included: 1) Introduction to Suicidality and the CAMS Approach; 2) CAMS Assessment; and 3) CAMS Status Tracking and PFT. A fourth e-CAMS module is specific to VA systems, and was not included.