The humane treatment of persons with psychological disorders and scientific advances in the understanding brain disorders have made huge leaps in the treatment and recovery of persons with mental illness. So why are the barbaric practices of forced seclusion and restraints still practiced today?
1 to 3 deaths per week occur across the Nation due to seclusion and restraint.
- Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
The use of seclusion and restraint (S/R) in treatment and rehabilitation facilities is controversial. Supporters acknowledge these practices as necessary safety measures of last resort in situations involving imminent risk of physical harm to service recipients and service providers. Detractors say seclusion and restraint are often used inappropriately as punishment or for staff convenience, and that these practices can cause physical injury, emotional trauma, and even death.
Definitions of seclusion and restraint vary widely. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), in 1999 testimony to a U.S. Senate committee, defined restraint as "the partial or total immobilization of a person through the use of drugs, mechanical devices (such as leather cuffs), or physical holding by another person. Seclusion refers to a person's involuntary confinement, usually solitary."