Variables Associated With the Subjective Experience of Coercive Measures in Psychiatric Inpatients: A Systematic Review – 2017

This systematic review presents evidence regarding factors that may influence the patient’s subjective experience of an episode of mechanical restraint, seclusion, or forced administration of medication.

Two authors searched CINAHL, PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Psych-Info, considering published studies between 1 January 1992 and 1 February 2016. Based on the inclusion criteria and methodological quality, 34 studies were selected, reporting a total sample of 1,869 participants.

The results showed that the provision of information, contact and interaction with staff, and adequate communication with professionals are factors that influence the subjective experience of these measures. Humane treatment, respect, and staff support are also associated with a better experience, and debriefing is an important procedure/technique to reduce the emotional impact of these measures. Likewise, the quality of the working and physical environment and some individual and treatment variables were related to the experience of these measures. There are different results in relation to the most frequently associated experiences and, despite some data that indicate positive experiences, the evidence shows such experiences to be predominantly negative and frequently with adverse consequences. It seems that patients find forced medication and seclusion to be more tolerable than mechanical restraint and combined measures.

It appears that the role of the staff and the environmental conditions, which are potentially modifiable, affect the subjective experience of these measures. There was considerable heterogeneity among studies in terms of coercive measures experienced by participants and study designs.

Carlos Aguilera-Serrano, RN, Jose Guzman-Parra, DClinPsy, PhD, Juan A Garcia-Sanchez, RN, Berta Moreno-Küstner, PhD, Fermin Mayoral-Cleries, MD, PhD
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, October 25, 2017