Mental health inpatients’ and staff members’ suggestions for reducing physical restraint: A qualitative study – 2018-01-11

Physical restraint has negative consequences for all involved and international calls for its reduction have emerged. Some restraint reduction interventions have been developed, but limited qualitative research explores suggestions on how to reduce physical restraint (and feasibility issues with implementation) from those directly involved.

To explore mental health patients’ and staff members’ suggestions for reducing physical restraint.

Interviews were conducted with 13 inpatients and 22 staff members with experience of restraint on adult mental health inpatient wards in one UK National Health Service Trust.

Findings centred on four overarching themes: improving communication and relationships between staff/patients; making staff-related changes; improving ward environments/spaces; and having more activities. However, concerns were raised around practicalities/feasibility of their implementation.

Continued research is needed into best ways to reduce physical restraint, with an emphasis on feasibility/practicality and how to make time in busy ward environments.

Implications for Practice
Improving communication and relationships between staff/patients, making staffing-related changes, improving ward environments and providing patient activities are central to restraint reduction in mental healthcare. However, fundamental issues related to understaffing, high staff turnover, and lack of time/resources need addressing in order for these suggestions to be successfully implemented.

Ceri Wilson, Lorna Rouse, Sarah Rae, Manaan Kar Ray
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 11 January 2018
DOI: 10.1111/jpm.12453