A Quality Improvement Project Using Verbal De-Escalation to Reduce Seclusion and Patient Aggression in an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit [2020]

The use of seclusion is controversial and has been deemed an encroachment on human rights and dignity which can cause psychological trauma and physical injury to patients in the psychiatric setting. This quality improvement project used a quasi-experimental design to implement the TeamSTEPPS educational program, an evidenced-based program to inform nurses about verbal de-escalation to reduce patient aggressive behavior that can lead to patient seclusion. The targeted patient population included all patients admitted 2 months prior to initiation of Team STEPPS (n = 388) and 2 months following completion of the education modules (n = 342). After the implementation of the educational program there was a statistically significant difference in the rate of charting aggressive behavior (p = 0.024). The pre rate was 17.3%, and the post rate was 11.4%. While there was not a statistically significant difference in the rate of seclusion events, (p = 0.349) there was a clinically significant reduction. The pre rate was 5.9%, and the post rate was 4.4%. The results of this study support the importance of educating psychiatric nurses on verbal-de-escalation to reduce patients placed in seclusion and decrease patients’ aggressive behavior in the psychiatric settings.

Judy Haefner, RN, DNP PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC, Ifeoma Dunn, BSN, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC & Marilyn McFarland, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CTN-A
Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 04 Aug 2020