What is known on the subject?
Seclusion is a harmful and traumatising intervention for people accessing mental health services.
People who are subject to seclusion in inpatient mental health services often first experience this within the first 24 h following admission.
There is limited research examining how recent contact with services impacts the likelihood of seclusion when people are admitted to inpatient services.
What the paper adds to existing knowledge?
Males, Māori and Pasifika experience higher rates of seclusion within the first 24 h following inpatient admission.
People perceived by clinicians as overactive, aggressive, disruptive or agitated are seven times more likely to be secluded within the first 24 h.
People referred from police or justice services are three times more likely to be secluded within the first 24 h.
People who had frequent contact with community mental health services prior to inpatient admission were less likely to be secluded.
What are the implications for practice?
The first 24 h of inpatient admission is a critical focus for eliminating the use of seclusion. Initial interactions with people recently admitted should focus on nurturing relationships and reducing distress.
Mental health staff should consider the person’s cultural needs, referral pathway, recent service contact and baseline ratings on the Health of the Nation Outcomes Scales (HoNOS) when working proactively to prevent the use of seclusion in the first 24 h following admission.
Strengthening the focus on nurturing relationships, cultural understanding and non-coercive de-escalation approaches requires leadership support and strategic workforce development.
People who experience seclusion in inpatient mental health services often do so within the first 24 h following admission. There is limited research examining the potential contributing factors, particularly recent contact with services.
To identify factors associated with seclusion within the first 24 h following admission into acute inpatient mental health services.
A retrospective analysis was undertaken using routinely collected data from Aotearoa New Zealand mental health services.
A higher likelihood of seclusion within the first 24 h following admission was associated with: males, Māori, Pasifika, referrals from police/justice services, inpatient transfers, recent contact with crisis assessment teams and clinician perceptions of aggression, problematic substance use, cognitive problems and hallucinations or delusions. Recent contact with community mental health services was associated with a lower likelihood.
People’s cultural needs, referral pathway, recent service contact and HoNOS scores should be considered when working to prevent the use of seclusion in the first 24 h following admission.
Implications for Practice
The first 24 h following inpatient admission is a critical period for preventing the use of seclusion. Nurturing relationships, cultural understanding and use of non-coercive de-escalation approaches can support better outcomes for people recently admitted.