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  • Restraint is defined as the restriction of an individual's freedom of movement by physical or mechanical means. Data for two forms of restraint are specified by the SECREST NBEDS: Mechanical restraint (for example, using devices such as belts, or straps); and, Physical restraint (for example, the application by health care staff of hands-on immobilisation techniques). Unspecified restraint, that is, the type of restraint is unknown, was a very small component in 2015–16. Data improvement initiatives are expected to remove the need for an unspecified restraint category from 2016–17 onwards.

    States and territories have different policy and legislative requirements regarding restraint and have therefore had different processes and systems for collecting data, different definitions of restraint and differences in the types of restraint which are reported. As such caution is needed in interpreting this data and comparing results. See the data source section for further information

    Nationally, there were 9.2 Physical restraint events per 1,000 beds days; Mechanical restraint was less common (1.7 events per 1,000 bed days) (Figure RP.7). Mechanical restraint was not reported by the Northern Territory, and data on Physical restraint was not reported by Queensland. Of the states reporting data, Victoria had the highest rate of Mechanical and Physical restraint events (5.8 and 23.2 events per 1,000 bed days, respectively). This is likely to be the result of higher acuity admission thresholds due to lower per capita bed numbers inflating the results on a per bed day basis.


    Figure RP.7: Rate of restraint events, public sector acute mental health hospital services, states and territories, 2015–16

    Bar chart showing the rate of mechanical, physical and unspecified restraint events in public sector acute mental health hospital services in each state and territory for 2015-16. NSW 0.6 mechanical & 8.8 physical, Vic 5.8 & 23.2, Qld 0.2 & 0, WA 0, 3.5 & 0.6 unspecified, SA 1.4 & 1.7, Tas 1.0, 11.1 & 1.0, ACT 0 & 2.0, NT 0 & 12.4. Refer to Table RP.5.

    Note: Victoria has fewer beds per capita than other jurisdictions resulting in higher acuity thresholds for admissions. Higher acuity on admission is likely to be reflected in an apparent higher rate of restraint per bed day compared with reporting on a population basis.

    Source: National Seclusion and Restraint Database.

    Source data: Restrictive practices Table RP.5 (518KB XLS)


    Target population

    Restraint data can also be presented by the target population of the acute specialised mental health hospital service where the restraint event occurred. In 2015–16, the use of restraint (both physical and mechanical) was more common in Forensic services than other service types (Figure RP.7). The Physical restraint rate for Forensic services (110.2 events per 1,000 beds days) was over 10 times the rate for Child and adolescent services (10.9) and 20 times the rate for General services (5.0). The rate of Mechanical restraint was also highest in Forensic services.


    Figure RP.8: Rate of restraint events, public sector acute mental health hospital services, by target population, 2015–16

    Bar chart showing the rate of mehanical, physical and unspecified restraint events in public sector acute mental helath hospital services by target population in 2015–16. General mechanical 0.4, physical 5.0 & unspecified 0.1, Child & adolescent 0.2 & 10.9, Older person 1.9, 2.3 & 0.1, Forensic 26.2, 110.2. Refer to Table RP.6.

    Source: National Seclusion and Restraint Database.

    Source data: Restrictive practices Table RP.6 (518KB XLS)


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