This paper is intended to assist the attorneys and risk managers who advise behavioral health facilities. In particular, this paper:
• Provides background on the increased scrutiny of the use of restraint and seclusion, including a discussion of the political, legal, and regulatory context regarding the use of these interventions for people with mental illnesses;
• Provides a brief overview of factors explaining why the use of restraint and seclusion poses legal risks, including a description of the medical risks associated with the use of these interventions;
• Provide an overview of the constitutional, civil, and criminal claims that may arise when seclusion and restraint are used improperly, and review relevant case law;
• Provide examples of effective alternatives to the use of restraint and seclusion and related resources; and
• Recommend practical strategies to reduce risks to providers and facilities.