Law and policy in relation to the use of seclusion in psychiatric hospitals in Australia and New Zealand

Muir-Cochrane, E.; Holmes, C.; Walton, J.A.

Contemporary Nurse 13(2-3): 136-145


ISSN/ISBN: 1037-6178
DOI: 10.5172/conu.13.2-3.136
Accession: 068502579

Download citation:  

Article/Abstract emailed within 0-6 h
Payments are secure & encrypted
Powered by Stripe
Powered by PayPal

This paper discusses legal issues associated with the seclusion of acutely disturbed patients in psychiatric hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. There continues to be great variation in opinion and operational definition as to whether seclusion is a medical treatment, nursing intervention and management tool, or merely a form of situational restraint. Reflecting this lack of clarity, mental health acts and policies concerning the regulation and practice of seclusion lack consistency and focus across geographical boundaries and jurisdictions. Australian and New Zealand legislation and institutional policy is discussed in order to shed light on the contemporary issues highlighted by this controversial nursing practice. Mental health professionals must continue to review the practice of seclusion and to actively promote the use of acceptable alternatives. In addition nurses and other mental health professionals have a responsibility to understand current legislation and policy frameworks and to influence change where this is necessary to ensure the best practice possible in their clinical area.