Exploring the potential for alternatives to seclusion in Acute In-patient Services

Jacinta Chavulak, Melissa Petrakis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Abstract Content
Restrictive interventions, such as seclusion, are experienced by people experiencing an acute mental health crisis as traumatic, and counter to recovery.

Objectives: To audit seclusion rates in one service in Melbourne, Australia, to investigate the use of seclusion, patient demographics, and opportunities to reduce seclusion use.

Methods: A cohort of admissions were examined across a 12 month period in January – December in 2013. Electronic and paper records were accessed and audited for 655 admissions.

Results: There were 198 seclusion events and 90 discreet patients who experienced seclusion. For those experiencing seclusion: two thirds were male; half were either homeless or had no fixed abode; 32% were case managed; and over 50% were unemployed or not in the workforce. The average time people experienced seclusion for was 12 hours, and the median and mode times were 4 hours.

Conclusion: By understanding seclusion interventions better, changes can be made to enhance practice. This exploratory research into seclusion has clarified who is most likely to experience seclusion, why, for how long, and suggests ways social workers can be catalysts in important reforms to protect and enhance the rights and wellbeing of marginalised members of our communities at their most vulnerable.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event8th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health 2016: Enhancing Human Condition: Negotiating & Creating Change - , Singapore
Duration: 19 Jun 201623 Jun 2016
Conference number: 8th


Conference8th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health 2016
Abbreviated titleICSW 2016


  • Seclusion and restraint reduction
  • Inpatient admission
  • Inpatient psychiatry
  • Co-design

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