Patient Restraint and Seclusion Techniques

Healthcare Training Resource
May 16, 2012 — 2,432 views  
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In deciding whether medical treatment should be mandated or simply offered, many professionals consider the benefits and consequences of restraint and seclusion practices. Courts have recognized over the course of history that people with mental illnesses retain the right to refuse the improper use of seclusion and restraint. In fact, in the 1982 case Youngberg v. Romeo, the governing courts found such practices to be a drastic deprivation of personal liberty, according to Youngberg V. Romeo, 457 U.S. 207, 316 (1982).

However, more recently, professionals have come to the conclusion that certain behavior interventions are essential in reducing safety risks. Practitioners agree that these efforts need to be enacted with the patient's well-being in mind, and the overall goal is to use restraint and seclusion only when absolutely necessary.

When crafting unique patient restraint and seclusion techniques, professionals must evaluate the potential legal risks associated with the practice. If risk managers understand the ins-and-outs of behavior interventions, they'll be more likely to implement techniques that complement the law rather than imposing restrictions on personal liberties while attempting to deliver care. The preliminary evaluation of the use of restraint and seclusion may help practitioners determine if the use of such practices reflects the exercise of professional judgment on a case-by-case basis.

It is important to remember that each use of restraint and seclusion poses uncertain consequences, both physical and psychological, to the patient experiencing the behavior intervention. What's more, the staff members who are in charge of delivering such restrictions can also be subject to unforeseen emotional damages, as the process can often be overwhelming.

Restraints should be individualized and designed to be as humane as possible. If professionals remove the patient's dignity throughout the process, the situation can be viewed negatively in the future. Any restraints need to be administered in a professional and compassionate manner. Documenting the interventions can help ensure safety throughout the process, as noted observations, treatments, accounts and testimonials can provide supplementary facts on why and how restraints and seclusion efforts were used. Documenting the invention is not just a good idea, but is in fact essential for a legal and morally sound effort.

When providing personal care to patients in need, experimental and potentially unfavorable practices may be used. While the United States court system is aware of the use of restraint and seclusion, it is swift to punish professionals who use the practice inaccurately or for unclear and improper reasons. Understanding the risks associated with the intervention process can help make sure that its use is always justifiable. 

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