« Back to story
In accordance with our Comments Policy, all comments are moderated before they appear on the site. This happens 7am to 7pm each weekday.
I have no doubt that seclusion is being misused and/or just done badly in some cases, but sometimes it can also be a good thing. It is not uncommon for people using mental health services to request seclusion for themselves until they feel better, because they find that the low-stimulus environment helps them to manage their symptoms. In the facility I worked in we had a sensory modulation room that just turned into a meeting room, because some of the equipment could possibly be misused to self harm and we just didn't have the staffing levels to have 2 staff present when people wanted to use it. Most of the equipment is also quite expensive. Meanwhile, DHBs are also being asked to make 'efficiencies' (cuts), while the health spending freeze has been defunding the health sector at the rate of inflation, and mental health and prevention have always been a poor cousins to mainstream hospital services. We definitely need to get better at using seclusion appropriately and as a last resort (some facilities are much better than others), but I just can't see it going completely.
And this is a fairly accurate representation of how it is still as my husband went in for his bipolar mania and got seclusion for 24 h in February and I was not allowed to see him during this time. He was kept in the high needs them shuttled out to the open side at midnight when they needed his bed. Nearly all the patients are addicted to nicotine yet are forbidden to smoke and even the outside courtyard with the bolted down table has new signs declaring it to be a smoke free area. Since the patients cannot leave the building to smoke they get pretty agitated when denied this and the agitation gets them higher doses of calming meds.
There surely has to be a better way
$900 dollars per patient per day as of 2012 it would be more now.Were is all the money going, they have got patients reusing plastic cutlery.Blatantly over medicating patents with the most dangerous pharmaceuticals known and providing no counseling.It is truly a cruel and corrupt system.If you think they are going to acknowledge your special rights under the mental health act you will be sorely disappointed. If you weren't suicidal before being admitted you will be, its absolute hell.
i can't believe this sort of treatment is still going on! Shocking!
Seclusion does still happen and is a barbaric and untherapeutic way to treat people. However when a patient is a serious danger, especially to others, it may be the best option, at least in the first instance. While efforts are underway to have it phased out completely the reality is there may always be instances where it is actually the best option in a very bad situation. What DHB's can do to minimise the damage of the experience is ensure rooms used for seclusion purposes have, in the very least, a chalk wall or similar on which the patient can draw or write if they want/need to. By its very nature seclusion involves complete social isolation. For a patient who might need to express what they are thinking or feeling, the inability to do so is an icredibly frightening and lonely experience.
Most important of all, to those (thankfully few) staff who misuse seclusion, please don't think those vulnerable delusional patients, you place in seclusion won't remember their experience after their episode has passed. Most do. Be sure your use of the practice is justified.
All comments are moderated.
Please see our Comments Policy.