Post-incident reviews after restraints-Potential and pitfalls. Patients' experiences and considerations

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2022 Jun;29(3):472-483. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12776. Epub 2021 Jun 14.


WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE SUBJECT?: Restraint has negative psychological, physical and relational consequences for mental health patients and care providers. Several countries have implemented seclusion and restraint (S/R) reduction programmes in which post-incident reviews (PIRs) including patients and care providers are one of several strategies. Existing knowledge indicates that PIRs have the potential to contribute to S/R prevention, but knowledge of the patients' perspectives on PIRs is scarce. WHAT THE PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: The paper provides in-depth knowledge about patients' experiences of being participants in PIRs after restraint events. Patients experience PIRs to result in being strengthened and developing new coping strategies. The paper reveals pitfalls when planning and conducting PIRs that make patients experience PIRs as meaningless, feel objectified or long for living communication and closeness. The patients' mental state, the quality of the relationships and the services' care philosophies, influence patients' experiences of PIRs as supporting their personal recovery processes or as continuation of coercive contexts. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Patients' vulnerability during the PIRs must be acknowledged. Trusted persons or advocacy must support the patient in the PIR and thus reduce the power-dependence imbalance. The PIR must be conducted in a supportive, non-punishing atmosphere. Patients must influence planning for the PIR concerning time point and participants and themes to be discussed. The PIR forms should be extended to support the patients' empowerment and well-being. ABSTRACT: Introduction Post-incident reviews (PIRs), including patients, nurses and other care providers, following incidents of restraints are recommended in mental health services. Few studies have examined patients' experiences and considerations concerning PIRs. Aim The study aims to explore patients' perspectives on PIRs in relation to how they experience participation in PIRs and further view PIRs' potential for care improvement and restraint prevention. Method We conducted a qualitative study based on individual interviews. Eight current and previous inpatients from two Norwegian mental health services were interviewed. Results The patients experienced PIRs as variations on a continuum from being strengthened, developing new coping strategies and processing the restraint event to at the other end of the continuum; PIRs as meaningless, feeling objectified and longing for living communication and closeness. Discussion PIRs' beneficial potential is extended in the study. The findings highlight however that personal and institutional conditions influence whether patients experience PIRs as an arena for recovery promotion or PIRs as continuation of coercive contexts. Implications for practice We recommend patients' active participation in planning the PIR. PIRs should be conducted in a supportive atmosphere, including trusted persons, emphasizing and acknowledging a dialogical approach.

Keywords: acute mental health; care philosophies; experiences; nursing; patients; post-incident reviews; restraints.

MeSH terms

  • Coercion
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mentally Ill Persons* / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Restraint, Physical