Objectives: This study examined patients' preferences for coercive measures in case of emergency situations on acute psychiatric wards.
Methods: From November 2004 until January 2006, 104 adult patients completed a questionnaire after they underwent seclusion, nonconsensual medication, or both on one of three acute psychiatric wards in the Netherlands.
Results: Equal numbers of patients preferred seclusion and medication, and both measures were equal in perceived aversiveness and perceived efficacy. Men more often than women expressed a preference for seclusion. Patients who understood why the measure was necessary and acquiesced to it retrospectively held more positive views of the efficacy of the measure.
Conclusions: Many patients on acute psychiatric wards have a clear preference between seclusion and medication. Patients appreciated receiving explanations of the reasons for the use of a restrictive measure and discussing their preferences with staff.