Seclusion: A Patient Perspective [2020]

The appropriate treatment of mentally unwell, aggressive patients has challenged psychiatry for centuries. Seclusion is practiced worldwide, but concerns remain regarding its appropriateness and lack of alternatives. Patients generally report seclusion as a negative experience, though there is a paucity of literature exploring this in detail. This investigation was a service evaluation appraising inpatients’ perspective of processes occurring before (information, communication), during (review, care), and after (debrief, reflection) seclusion in a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU). In this phenomenological study, qualitative data were gathered using a questionnaire in a structured interview. All patients had been nursed in seclusion during admission to a male PICU at South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Ten patients were interviewed over 4 months. The central theme was perceived lack of communication in the patient-professional relationship, which manifested itself as (i) violence against patients, (ii) lack of psychological support, and (iii) the need for alternatives. Such feedback from patients queries whether national guidelines are appropriate and/or being adhered to. Healthcare practitioners have a responsibility to challenge accepted practice to continually improve the standard of patient-centred care. Utilising patient perspectives can be a powerful driver of change towards more humane treatment of vulnerable patients.

Silvia Allikmets, BSc, Caryl Marshall, BSc, MBBS, MRCPsych, Omar Murad, MBChB, Specialty Doctor in Psychiatry on Eden PICU and Johnson PICU & Kamal Gupta, MBBS, MRCPsych, MD Psychological Medicine, Consultant Psychiatrist
Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Volume 41, 2020 – Issue 8