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Use of seclusion for managing behavioural disturbance in patients

  • Giles Newton-Howes
Summary

Seclusion is a tool used by psychiatrists primarily to manage aggressive and disturbed behaviour that is presumed to be due to the patient's mental disorder. In most parts of the world there are guidelines to using seclusion that are designed to maximise a patient's freedoms and protect their liberty while providing a safe environment. Arguments against the use of seclusion revolve around the deprivation of liberty, the potential for misuse and the concept of seclusion as a form of social control, and patients generally report seclusion as a negative, coercive experience. There is little evidence that seclusion provides long-term benefits in terms of treating symptoms or reducing aggression, although the literature is mixed in this regard. Expert opinion recommends a combination of national policy, ward management and patient-centred interventions to reduce seclusion rates.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Giles Newton-Howes, Department of Psychological Medicine, Private Bag 9014, University of Otago, Wellington 4156, New Zealand. Email: giles.newton-howes@otago.ac.nz
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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Use of seclusion for managing behavioural disturbance in patients

  • Giles Newton-Howes
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