Mental health policy stipulates seclusion should only be used as an intervention of last resort and for the minimum possible duration. Current evidence details which service users are more likely to be secluded, why they are secluded, and what influences the decision to seclude them. However, very little is known about the decision to release service users from seclusion. An integrative review was undertaken to explore the decision‐making processes of mental health professionals which guide the ending of seclusion. The review used a systematic approach to gather and thematically analyse evidence within a framework approach. The twelve articles identified generated one overriding theme, maintaining safety. In addition, several subthemes emerged including the process of risk assessing which was dependent upon interaction and control, mediated by factors external to the service user such as the attitude and experience of staff and the acuity of the environment. Service users were expected to demonstrate compliance with the process ultimately ending in release and reflection. Little evidence exists regarding factors influencing mental health professionals in decisions to release service users from seclusion. There is no evidence‐based risk assessment tool, and service users are not routinely involved in the decision to release them. Support from experienced professionals is vital to ensure timely release from seclusion. Greater insight into influences upon decisions to discontinue episodes may support initiatives aimed at reducing durations and use of seclusion.
Haley Jackson MSc, RNMH John Baker PhD, RMN Kathyrn Berzins PhD, MCC, BA Hons
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 22 June 2018