Caregivers' Attitude and Perspective on Coercion and Restraint Practices on Psychiatric Inpatients from South India

J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2019 Apr-Jun;10(2):261-266. doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_302_18.


Background: Coercion and restraint practices in psychiatric care are common phenomena and often controversial and debatable ethical issue. Caregivers' attitude and perspective on coercion and restraint practices on psychiatric inpatients have received relatively less research attention till date.

Aims: Caregivers' attitude and perspective on coercion and restraint practices on psychiatric inpatients.

Methodology: This is a hospital-based, a descriptive, cross-sectional study. A total of 200 (n = 200) consecutive patient and their caregivers were chosen between June 2013 and September 2014 through computer-generated random numbers sampling technique. We used a semi-structured interview questionnaire to capture caregivers' attitude and perspective on coercion and restraint practices. Sociodemographic and coercion variable were analyzed using descriptive statistics. McNemar test was used to assess discrete variables.

Results: The mean age was 43.8 (±14.9) years. About 67.5% of the caregivers were family members, 60.5% of them were male and 69.5% were from low-socioeconomic status. Caregivers used multiple methods were used to bring patients into the hospital. Threat (52.5%) was the most common method of coercion followed by persuasion (48.5%). Caregivers felt necessary and acceptable to use chemical restraint (82.5%), followed by physical restraint (71%) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) (56.5%) during acute and emergency psychiatric care to control imminent risk behavior of patients.

Conclusion: Threat, persuasion and physical restraint were the common methods to bring patients to bring acutely disturbed patients to mental health care. Most patients caregivers felt the use of chemical restraint, physical restraint and ECT as necessary for acute and emergency care in patients with mental illness.

Keywords: Caregiver; India; coercion; psychiatry; restraints.