New Information Shows Rate of Seclusion in Mental Health Facilities is Falling

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 19 July, 2013

For the first time, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published information on seclusion in mental health facilities.
Published on the AIHW Mental Health Services in Australia website, the information shows seclusion rates are falling.
Seclusion is defined as confinement at any time of the day or night alone in a room or area from which free exit is prevented. Reducing the use of seclusion is a national priority for mental health and was formally endorsed by health ministers in the National safety priorities in mental health: a national plan for reducing harm. Initiatives were implemented through Australian mental health pilot sites to progress this priority as part of the National Mental Health Seclusion and Restraint (Beacon Site) Project 2007-09. The project resulted in positive changes for reducing the use of restrictive practices in mental health services.
'Seclusion rates fell from 15.6 events per 1,000 bed days in public acute hospital services to 10.6 seclusion events per 1,000 bed days between 2008-09 and 2011-12,' AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela
Kinnear said.
Nationally, child and adolescent units had a higher rate of seclusion events (20.9 per 1,000 bed days) compared with general units (11.9) in 2011-12. Seclusion rates have not fallen in recent years for child and adolescent units.
Work is currently underway to investigate whether states and territories can routinely supply data on restrictive practices in line with agreed national definitions.
The AIHW's Mental Health Services in Australia website is available at

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