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Exploring patterns of seclusion use in Australian Mental Health Services
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Brenda Happell, Cadeyrn GaskinCadeyrn Gaskin
Seclusion has remained a common practice in mental health services. In Australia, recent mental health policy has reflected a desire to reduce (and, if possible, eliminate) the use of seclusion. The collection and analysis of data on the use of seclusion have been identified as an important component of the success of reduction initiatives. A cross-sectional design was used in the collection of inpatient unit data on seclusions that occurred in 11 mental health services in Australia over a 6-month period. During this time, there were 4,337 episodes of care. One or more seclusions occurred in 6.8% of episodes of care, with consumers being secluded, on average, 2.32 times and with 44% of them having been secluded more than once. The average length of the seclusions was 2 hours 52 minutes, with 51.4% of seclusions being less than 2 hours. These rates were lower than those reported in previous research studies. The practice of seclusion occurred more commonly on the first 2 days following admission, on weekdays than weekends, and between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and midnight. An understanding of seclusion data can provide fundamental information from which strategies to reduce seclusion can be developed.