Being in a seclusion room: The forensic psychiatric inpatients' perspective

Louise Askew, Paul Fisher, Peter Beazley

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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Contemporary qualitative research has explored service users' experience of seclusion and have found it to be a highly distressing and potentially traumatising experience for service users. The majority of the existing literature has researched seclusion within the context of other restrictive practices, resulting in findings that can only be considered an overview of the experience. The studies also rarely access participants with histories of considerable violence and imprisonment.
What are forensic psychiatric inpatients' experience of being in a seclusion room?
Seven inpatients in a medium secure hospital were interviewed and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the data.
Four superordinate themes were identified; 'intense fear', 'not getting the care I needed', 'I am being abused' and 'power struggle'.
While participants were in the seclusion room they experienced extreme fear. Staff interaction played a considerable role in shaping the participants' experience. Staff actions were interpreted as neglectful and abusive. Participants experienced struggling for power with staff, seeking out power when left in a powerless position.
These findings suggested that a carefully tailored therapeutic interaction is required during seclusion in order to safeguard the mental health of forensic inpatients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Forensic
  • Patient Experience
  • Seclusion and Restraint
  • Qualitative Methodology

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