Background Suicide is an important public health issue worldwide. Suicidal behavior in the elderly population represents a huge potential burden on national health care systems and economies, as the average lifespan has increased significantly in most countries in recent decades. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between nursing care and the overall suicide rate in the elderly. Methods We used a fixed-effect model to analyze panel data comprising suicide-related events in Taiwan from 2001 to 2009. Two data sets provided by the Taiwan Department of Health of the Executive Yuan, Taiwan, and the Taiwan Demographic Fact Book produced by the Taiwan Ministry of the Interior were used. Death by suicide was defined as those coded E950-E958 according to the International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision (ICD-9). These data comprised a longitudinal population-based survey of a nationwide sample of 23,224,912 residents. Results Our study suggests that suicides in the elderly can be prevented with medical care offered by nurses. Our findings show that increasing the number of nursing staff reduced suicidal ideation in older adults. Although the results regarding elderly male suicides were not statistically significant, elderly female suicides were found to be significantly reduced. Conclusion This study concluded that it is possible to reduce this public health issue and decrease the associated national financial burden by increasing the nursing workforce.
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