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Patients' view of seclusion – preliminary report


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.

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Correspondence to Alice Keski-Valkama.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keski-Valkama, A., Eronen, M. & Kaltiala-Heino, R. Patients' view of seclusion – preliminary report. BMC Psychiatry 7, S158 (2007).

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  • Public Health
  • Clinical Implication
  • Preliminary Report
  • Psychiatric Patient
  • Positive Aspect