Objective: The use of seclusion or restraint (S/R) as an emergency medical intervention to assist patients in regaining behavioral control continues to be an area of interest and concern for the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), consistent with the ongoing concerns in the medical, patient advocate, legislative and legal communities. This study examined unit characteristics and the use of S/R in a VA facility with a secured, acute mental health unit before and after the promulgation of the JCAHO 2000 standards for utilization of S/R for behavioral health reasons.
Methods: Variables examined include patient acuity, patient census, number of admits, number of discharges, length of stay, number of nursing staff on duty, critical incidents and S/R hours per month.
Results: Results indicated S/R use began showing a notable decrease corresponding to the time that senior unit management began discussions of the new JCAHO standards. These reductions maintained statistical significance even after controlling for changes in unit environmental variables.