Methodological issues in monitoring the use of coercive measures

WA Janssen, R Sande, EO Noorthoorn, HLI Nijman, L Bowers, Niels Mulder, Albertine Smit, GAM Widdershoven, T Steinert

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55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: In many European countries, initiatives have emerged to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint in psychiatric institutions. To study the effects of these initiatives at a national and international level, consensus on definitions of coercive measures, assessment methods and calculation procedures of these coercive measures are required. The aim of this article is to identify problems in defining and recording coercive measures. The study contributes to the development of consistent comparable measurements definitions and provides recommendations for meaningful data-analyses illustrating the relevance of the proposed framework. Methods: Relevant literature was reviewed to identify various definitions and calculation modalities used to measure coercive measures in psychiatric inpatient care. Figures on the coercive measures and epidemiological ratios were calculated in a standardized way. To illustrate how research in clinical practice on coercive measures can be conducted, data from a large multicenter study on seclusion patterns in the Netherlands were used. Results: Twelve Dutch mental health institutes serving a population of 6.57 million inhabitants provided their comprehensive coercion measure data sets. In total 37 hospitals and 227 wards containing 6812 beds were included in the study. Overall seclusion and restraint data in a sample of 31,594 admissions in 20,934 patients were analyzed. Considerable variation in ward and patient characteristics was identified in this study. The chance to be exposed to seclusion per capita inhabitants of the institute's catchment areas varied between 0.31 and 1.6 per 100.000. Between mental health institutions, the duration in seclusion hours per 1000 inpatient hours varied from less than 1 up to 18 h. The number of seclusion incidents per 1000 admissions varied between 79 up to 745. The mean duration of seclusion incidents of nearly 184 h may be seen as high in an international perspective. Conclusion: Coercive measures can be reliably assessed in a standardized and comparable way under the condition of using clear joint definitions. Methodological consensus between researchers and mental health professionals on these definitions is necessary to allow comparisons of seclusion and restraint rates. The study contributes to the development of international standards on gathering coercion related data and the consistent calculation of relevant outcome parameters. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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