The practice of mechanically restraining psychiatric patients is constantly under debate, and staff attitudes are considered a central factor influencing restraining practices. The aim of this study was to explore associations between psychiatric staff members’ presence and participation in incidences of restraint and attitudes towards mechanical restraints. Methods: Staff members (psychiatrists, nurses, paramedical staff; N = 143 working in a government psychiatric hospital in Israel) completed a questionnaire including personal information, participation in incidents of restraint and attitudes towards mechanical restraints. Items were categorized into the following categories: security and care; humiliation and offending; control; order; education and punishment. Results: Compared to those who were not present during restraint, staff members who were present agreed significantly less with statements indicating that restraints are humiliating and offending and agreed more with statements indicating that restraints are used primarily for security and care (p < .05). Among those present in incidences of restraint, staff members who physically participated in restraint agreed significantly more with statements indicating that restraints are a means for security, care and order, and less with statements indicating restraints are humiliating and offending, compared to those present but not physically participating in restraint (p < .05). Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of proximity of staff members to incidences of restraints. This may have implications in understanding the professional and social discourse concerning mechanical restraints.

Sagit Dahan, Galit Levi, Pnina Behrbalk, Israel Bronstein, Shmuel Hirschmann, Shaul Lev-Ran
Psychiatric Quarterly, March 2018, Volume 89, Issue 1
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11126-017-9524-9