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Inpatients had mostly negative experiences of seclusion during short term treatment in a mental health facility

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QUESTION: How do patients experience seclusion during short term inpatient treatment in a mental health facility?


Semi structured interviews.


2 open, acute care units of a large tertiary mental health facility in Queensland, Australia.


12 patients (58% men) who were 18–52 years of age and were secluded in the previous 7 days (mean duration 3.4 h).


Semi structured, thematically organised interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Transcripts were checked for errors against the audiotaped versions and were analysed using the process of meaning categorisation. Themes were identified and coded to produce categories. All members of the research team agreed on the final categorisations. These broad categories were further analysed, and themes were used to reflect patients' experiences of seclusion.

Main findings

5 recurrent themes emerged. (1) Patients described the use of seclusion. Some patients …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Mr T Meehan, Queensland University of Technology, Nursing Research Unit, Wolston Park Hospital, Wacol, Queensland 4076, Australia. Fax +61 7 327 18228.

  • Abstract and commentary also appear in Evidence-Based Mental Health.