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BMC Psychiatry

Open Access

Patients' view of seclusion – preliminary report

  • Alice Keski-Valkama1,
  • Markku Eronen1 and
  • Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino1
BMC Psychiatry20077(Suppl 1):S158

Published: 19 December 2007


Public HealthClinical ImplicationPreliminary ReportPsychiatric PatientPositive Aspect


Seclusion, putting a patient involuntarily alone in a locked unfurnished room from which she/he cannot freely exit, is a prevailing coercive measure in modern psychiatric practice. In recent years, clinical, ethical, and legal debate has increased awareness of its controversial nature. However, studies focused on the views of the secluded patients themselves are sparse. Objective: To describe a pilot phase of an extensive research project concerning the seclusion experience of 100 forensic and civil psychiatric patients.


Secluded patients were interviewed using a semi-structured interview developed for the purpose of this research project.


Both negative and positive aspects were associated with seclusion. Interaction between the secluded patient and the staff was perceived as insufficient.


Clinical implications are discussed.

Authors’ Affiliations

Vanha Vaasa Hospital, Vaasa, Finland


© Keski-Valkama et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.