New APA Resource Document Highlights Quality and Safety Considerations in the Use of Seclusion or Restraint
Seclusion or restraint is used as an intervention of last resort in the management of severe agitation (e.g., violence) in patients. Both are highly regulated by local, state, and federal law and other health care accreditation organizations. Patients, families, and psychiatrists may be concerned about these interventions as they can cause significant psychological distress and/or physical injury as well as perpetuate the stigma of mental illness. The APA recognizes these concerns, and has developed a resource document on seclusion or restraint to provide practical advice to psychiatrists and other mental health care workers to promote safe and quality mental health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left in its wake a serious mental health crisis, the scope of which is still evolving. Even before the pandemic, demand for mental health care services was extremely high, and increasing by the day. Now, as lockdowns have ended and many pandemic restrictions have lifted in America, COVID is still putting a strain on health care personnel, and the systems they work in. In addition to laying bare the severity of healthcare disparities in our communities, the pandemic has also focused a spotlight on the seriousness of the mental health care shortage in America. In the face of these mounting challenges and unprecedented need, it is clear that the future of mental health care in our country will require an interdisciplinary approach.
A statement from the APA’s Telepsychiatry and Mental Health IT Committees on Patient Safety and Quality
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7666, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration and deliberation of what measures will be included in a possible mental health legislative package.
The social determinants of health and mental health were the focus of a recent APA Mental Health Equity Fireside Chat hosted by APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity and moderated by Division Chief and Deputy Medical Director Regina James, M.D.