National Association of State Mental Health Planning Directors Guide on Seclusion and Restraint (pdf, 246KB, 35 pages)

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.