Towards restraint-free mental health practice

The use of personal restraint in mental health services is known to cause trauma, injury and severe emotional distress both for people using services and staff.  

Towards restraint-free mental health practice: Supporting the reduction and prevention of personal restraint in mental health inpatient settings provides information and guidance for services on ways to reduce and prevent personal restraint events.
It is in two parts.

  • Part 1 is a restraint prevention framework, which summarises available prevention strategies, including the rationale for and timing of their use.
  • Part 2 outlines principles and objectives that will help services to plan for reducing and preventing the use of personal restraint.

Safe Practice Effective Communication 

To support restraint free mental health practice, the Safe Practice Effective Communication (SPEC) training programme has been developed.

SPEC is a collaboration between all DHBs, under the leadership of the National Directors of Mental Health Nursing, with a number of key stakeholders including Te Pou, service user groups and Māori groups.

The aim of the programme is to achieve national consistency of training that is pain free and prone free wherever possible, with a strong emphasis on prevention and therapeutic communication skills and strategies to support staff to reduce the incidence of restraints. We are pleased to be involved in this initiative as it enables much of the work in Towards restraint free mental health practice to be realised. 

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