Simple aesthetic improvements within psychiatric hospitals create massive reductions in the use of restraints and seclusion that are sustainable over the long term, according to a new ten-year follow-up study discussed in Psychiatric News.
“More than a decade ago, a team of mental health professionals initiated a study that would eventually show that an 82 percent reduction in a psychiatric hospital’s rates for seclusion and restraint use could be achieved within a relatively short time, simply by making the physical environment more aesthetically pleasing,” reports Psychiatric News. “Findings from that study showed that changes to the physical environment—such as repainting walls with warm colors, using decorative rugs, and restructuring furniture in common areas—were the only interventions associated with a significant drop in the rates of seclusion and restraint from the beginning of 2005 to mid-2008, whereas interventions such as increased trauma-informed training for hospital staff and shared decision making practices did not lead to a similar result.”
A co-author of the new ten-year follow-up study published in Psychiatric Services told Psychiatric News that the results continued even though the hospital underwent an administration shift during the time period under study. The team also observed that the more pleasing atmosphere seemed to make not just patients but also staff more calm. “The findings suggest that reduction in seclusion and restraint use is sustainable, and judicious use of seclusion and restraint can become the new normative practice—even in the face of potentially disruptive administrative and environmental changes,” the researchers stated in their conclusions.
Psychiatric Hospital Aesthetics Affect Seclusion, Restraint Use (Psychiatric News, September 05, 2014. DOI: 10.1176/appi.pn.2014.9a5)
Efforts to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint Use in a State Psychiatric Hospital: A Ten-Year Perspective (Madan, Alok et al. Psychiatric Services 2014. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300383 )