Physician Practice

How to update your restraint and seclusion policy

Medical Environment Update, September 24, 2020

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What to look for when updating your restraint and seclusion policies

by Brian Ward

Restraint and seclusion (R&S) violations are never to be taken lightly, due to the inherent risk of harm to patients or staff. Your facility should regularly review and update its policies to avoid an angry visit from CMS—or from a grieving family.

Kevin Ann Huckshorn, PhD, MSN, RN, CADC, ICRC, a national behavioral health consultant with years of experience in hospital settings and now the director of evidence-based practices and programs for Wellpath Recovery Solutions, spoke to Patient Safety Monitor Journal on how to keep your policy up to date.

Last resort

Your policy should explicitly state that R&S represents “emergency measures of last resort, to only be used in the face of imminent danger and to be halted as soon as possible, as soon as the person becomes calm,” Huckshorn says. R&S is dangerous, can be traumatizing for both patient and staff, and is not evidence-based practice, she adds.

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