“It’s possible”, reducing the coercion in care for adults living with neurodevelopmental disorders: A mixed-methods study

By Vincent Billé, Claire Gonsalvès, Agathe Lamarche-Vadel, Hélène Verdoux

Introduction: Adults living with a neurodevelopmental disorder may present episodes of aggression, which may lead to the use of seclusion or restraint. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of an intervention aimed at reducing the use of coercive measures in a long-term care unit for adults suffering from a neurodevelopmental disorder with or without psychiatric co-morbidities.
Method: The single-center study used a sequential mixed-methods explanatory design. Retrospective data on periods of seclusion, with and without physical restraint, were collected for the ten-month pre-intervention and post-intervention periods. A qualitative survey was conducted at the end of the intervention period among the health professionals working in the unit to review the implementation and the efficiency of the approach.
Results: A significant decrease was observed between the pre- and post-intervention period in the number of seclusion and restraint sequences, the number of patients experiencing seclusion and restraint, and the duration of seclusion and restraint sequences. The efficiency of the approach was confirmed by the health care professionals and was attributed to leadership focused on limiting coercive measures, better adherence to legal obligations, team cohesion, and the implementation of alternative tools and methods.
Discussion: Reducing the use of coercive measures with adults with neurodevelopmental disorders is possible. Further studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of alternative strategies to seclusion and restraint.

  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • coercion
  • physical restraint
  • psychiatric hospital
  • nursing research
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