Accessible summary: While the decision to use restraint and seclusion was not taken lightly, nurse participants felt that there were no effective alternatives to the use of these measures. Adverse interpersonal, physical and practice environments contributed to the onset of aggression in old age psychiatry inpatient settings. Policies to reduce or eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion need to take account of wide-ranging strategies to deal with aggression, including the provision of appropriate education and support and addressing ethical and workplace cultural issues associated with these practices. Restraint and seclusion are often ineffective and can affect patients adversely. In this study, we explored nurses' experiences of restraint and seclusion in short-stay acute old age psychiatry inpatient units and how these experiences underpin resistance to eliminating these practices. Qualitative interviews were conducted with nurses in three old age psychiatry units in Melbourne, Australia. The results provide one overarching theme, lack of accessible alternatives to restraint and seclusion, indicating that nurses believe there are no effective, accessible alternatives to these practices. Three related themes contribute to this perception. First, an adverse interpersonal environment contributes to restraint and seclusion, which relates to undesirable consequences of poor staff-to-patient relationships. Second, an unfavourable physical environment contributes to aggression and restraint and seclusion use. Third, the practice environment influences the adoption of restraint and seclusion. The findings contribute to the limited evidence about nurses' experiences of these practices in short-stay old age psychiatry, and how account needs to be taken of these experiences and contextual influences when introducing measures to address these practices. Policies addressing these measures need to be accompanied by wide-ranging initiatives to deal with aggression, including providing appropriate education and support and addressing ethical and workplace cultural issues surrounding these practices.
- Old age psychiatry
- Qualitative research