Best practice management strategies for mental health nurses during the clinical application of civil commitment: an overview

Contemp Nurse. 2006 Feb-Mar;21(1):62-70. doi: 10.5172/conu.2006.21.1.62.


Aim: The aim of this article is to outline best practice management strategies for nurses during the clinical application of civil commitment of mentally ill persons.

Method: A thorough literature search on 'coercion' and 'civil commitment' was undertaken using MEDLINE, CINAHL and PSYCHINFO. Published and unpublished research undertaken by the authors in New Zealand on this topic was drawn upon. This research considered the use of civil commitment during admission to acute mental health services, acute forensic mental health services and community mental health services.

Results: The experience of coercion by service users coincides with the degree of restriction associated with the service they are involved in. Socio-demographic factors, clinical factors and the experience of coercive events have little bearing on the amount of coercion experienced. Rather it is the pattern of communication and the use of 'procedural justice' that has the potential to ameliorate the amount of perceived coercion.

Conclusions: 'Procedural justice' aligns with the emphasis placed on the therapeutic relationship in mental health nursing and is an important consideration for nurses during the clinical application of civil commitment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coercion
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / standards*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / nursing*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Care / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychiatric Nursing / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome