An exploration of ethical issues associated with the seclusion of psychiatric patients

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Seclusion is a controversial practice which attracts much debate regarding the humanitarian, ethical and legal issues involved in its use. Such debate highlights the need to examine its appropriateness more closely. This paper explores ethical issues in relation to the practice of seclusion and identifies areas requiring further examination, to establish its relevance in contemporary nursing practice. The findings presented emerged as a result of research into nurses' perceptions of patients secluded in closed psychiatric wards. Using a grounded theory methodology, seven nurses from a large metropolitan psychiatric hospital in Australia were interviewed about their experiences. The predominant concern expressed by clinicians was the dichotomy between the desire to care for and the need to control acutely disturbed individuals. Clinicians articulated their role in seclusion as attempting to provide the best possible care for patients in unpredictable and challenging situations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • mental health nursing
  • isolation
  • ethical issues


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