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Intervention designed to reduce the use of summary execution in acute psychiatric inpatient settings

journal contribution
posted on 2007-11-01, 00:00 authored by S Elsom, Cadeyrn GaskinCadeyrn Gaskin, C Roper
Context: Although it may seem preposterous to consider the need to reduce the use of summary executions in acute psychiatric inpatient settings because practitioners simply would not consider using such inhumane treatment, it is sobering that many mental health professionals do not hesitate to use seclusion.

Objectives: We draw attention to the assumption that underlies the thinking of many mental health professionals that seclusion is acceptable simply because it is available.

Key messages: The letter of the law (seclusion is legal) is frequently given precedence over the spirit of the law (seclusion should used as a method of last resort, if at all). The availability of seclusion as an intervention makes its use inevitable. Although sufficient checks and balances exist in society to prevent psychiatric staff from adding summary executions to their ‘‘treatment’’ paradigms, legislators need to set the bar much higher. Outside intervention, in the form of legislation, is needed because the mental health professions seem incapable of discontinuing the use seclusion despite evidence of the trauma it causes to both patients and staff and despite the lack of evidence that it achieves any desirable outcomes.

Conclusion: The use of seclusion is unacceptable and should be as impossible and unthinkable as summarily executing our patients. By the use of what would seem, at first glance, an absurd analogy between seclusion and summary execution we highlight the need for a shift in policy and legislation regarding the use of traumatising interventions.

History

Journal

Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry

Volume

41

Issue

2

Publisher

Informa Healthcare

Location

[Carlton, Vic.]

ISSN

0004-8674

eISSN

1440-1614

Language

eng

Publication classification

C2.1 Other contribution to refereed journal

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