How do adolescent inpatients experience seclusion and other coercive measures?
background The reduction of coercive measures in psychiatry, particularly of seclusion, is considered to be a matter of some urgency. When policy changes with regard to coercive measures are being considered, the wishes and preferences of patients should be taken into account. Up till now, however, there have not been any studies that have examined how adolescent inpatients feel about coercive measures.
aim To examine the way adolescent inpatients feel about seclusion and other forms of coercive measures.
method Adolescent inpatients in a Dutch centre for orthopsychiatry (n = 34) were asked about their experiences with and their thoughts on coercive measures in general and on seclusion in particular.
results Thirty-two respondents took part. More than half of the 18 adolescents who had had prior experiences of coercive measures preferred seclusion to involuntary medication.
conclusion Policy-makers who want to reduce coercive measures in psychiatry should not focus primarily on the reduction of seclusion. Patient preferences, which vary depending on the nature of the patient population, need to be considered carefully and taken into account.