From Coercion to Compassion: Ending Seclusion and Restraint
By Kristin Blank
Comfort rooms. Humor. Daily interactions. A new training DVD from SAMHSA describes positive alternatives to seclusion and restraint practices.
The DVD, Leaving the Door Open: Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint, features personal stories, role plays, and suggestions for discussion. The 30-minute program is designed to help staff and administrators of all types of facilities, including psychiatric facilities, schools, and hospitals.
“This training resource provides practical, how-to information that focuses on collaboration and communication,” said Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W., Associate Director for Consumer Affairs at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. “We want to move from coercion to compassion.”
SAMHSA experts have long understood that seclusion and restraint practices do not reduce trauma but exacerbate it. The Agency is working to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of these practices in institutional and community settings.
“More humane and recovery-focused practices are available to protect consumers and caretakers,” said Mr. del Vecchio. “SAMHSA’s goal is to make this happen as soon as possible. This new DVD is a good start.”
With a focus on open communication among staff and those they serve, the DVD cover also provides questions to stimulate discussion among viewers and resources about ending seclusion and restraint.
The DVD teaches viewers about:
- Comfort rooms, spaces in facilities designed to help patients in distress calm down
- Personal safety plans, in which children and adult patients document activities that comfort them (i.e., listening to music, reading) as well as “triggers” that stress them (i.e., sounds such as jangling keys)
- Humor and how it can relieve distress and liven up community meetings, especially for children
- Daily interactions and how each encounter between staff members and patients offers an opportunity to extend care and compassion.
The DVD is a companion to SAMHSA’s seclusion and restraint reduction direct care staff training curriculum, Roadmap to Restraint and Seclusion Free Mental Health Services.
Finding alternatives to seclusion and restraint is part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Trauma and Justice.
Order Leaving the Door Open: Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint.
Read a SAMHSA News cover story on seclusion and restraint: “SAMHSA Helps Reduce Seclusion and Restraint at Facilities for Youth.”