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Impacts of seclusion and the seclusion room : exploring the perceptions of mental health nurses in Australia
The practice of seclusion does not sit comfortably with contemporary Australian mental health policy that emphasizes the provision of mental health services in the least restrictive environment. The negative impact of seclusion on patients and nurses is increasingly being acknowledged. On the other hand, seclusion receives wide support from nurses as a necessary behavior management strategy. The aim of this study was to examine nurses’ perceptions of the impact of seclusion and the seclusion room on patients and the changes they would consider to the seclusion room in relation to characteristics of the nurses, including therapeutic optimism, job satisfaction, and burnout. One hundred twenty-three nurses employed in mental health services from Queensland, Australia, participated in this study by completing four self-report scales to measure these attitudes and characteristics. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficients. The findings indicate some relationship between the three scales and attitudes to seclusion; however, therapeutic optimism had the strongest link. Participants with higher scores for optimism were more likely to acknowledge the detrimental effects of seclusion and the seclusion room and were more likely to support positive changes to the seclusion room.