Flinders Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane has been recognised for her work understanding seclusion and restraint practices for patients of acute psychiatric facilities, winning best paper presentation at the International Mental Health Nurses Research Conference held recently in the UK.
Her presentation was based on Professor Muir-Cochrane’s SABRE project (Seclusion and Barriers to Restraint Elimination), funded by the Australian National Mental Health Commission and the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, which investigated the continued use of seclusion and restrictive practices across psychiatric inpatient and emergency settings, despite calls for their elimination.
The project included a national survey of 500 nurses working in emergency departments and inpatient units across Australia.
Respondents indicated that they viewed the use of seclusion and physical or mechanical restraint as last resorts, but measures that were often necessary to maintain the safety of staff and patients.
They accepted that these practices were damaging to relationships and could be reduced by improving the nurse/patient relationship and employing the principles of trauma-informed care, but identified factors including low resources as barriers.
Professor Muir-Cochrane suggests that a range of initiatives are needed to move towards the reduction, or where possible elimination, of restraint use while maintaining ward safety.
The International Mental Health Nurses Research Conference 2018 was held in Manchester over 13 and 14 September 2018.
Professor Muir-Cochrane is Chair of Nursing (Mental Health) at Flinders University and currently in the UK as a Visiting Professor at City, London University. She is also the President of the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing
Together with the ACMHN, she is currently working on a new project, Safe to Care, Safe at work revisiting restraint reduction initiatives with funding provided by the National Mental Health Commission.