National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI’s Position on Seclusion and Restraints

The following statement is summarized from NAMI’s Public Policy Platform:

The use of involuntary mechanical or human restraints or involuntary seclusion is only justified as an emergency safety measure in response to imminent danger to a patient or others. These extreme measures can be justified only so long as, and to the extent that, an individual cannot commit to the safety of him or her-self and others.

Restraint and seclusion have no therapeutic value and should be used only for emergency safety by order of a physician with competency in psychiatry or a licensed independent mental health professional (LIP). A physician trained in psychiatry or a LIP should see the patient within one hour after restraints are initiated. Restraints should be continued only for periods of up to one hour at a time and a face-to-face examination of the patient by the physician or LIP must occur prior to each time a restraint order is renewed.

Alternatives to the use of restraint and seclusion should be used. De-escalation techniques and debriefings should be used after each restraint and seclusion incident.

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