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HSE seeks evidence to reduce coercive treatments in mental health units

By Paul Mulholland - 19th Sep 2019

A study to explore factors influencing the use of coercive treatments in three acute inpatient mental health units is being commissioned by the HSE.

The research will examine the factors influencing nurses’ decisions to use, or refrain from using, coercive treatments in their practice and will explore the impact of the use of coercive treatments on service users.

The research will focus on Donegal Mental Health Service, Cavan Monaghan Mental Health Service and Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Service. All three services are located in HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) 1.

Coercive treatments encompass both formal and informal practices. Formal practices involve seclusion, chemical restraint and physical restraint. Informal practices include segregation and use of high-observation areas.

“This is the first research of its kind in CHO 1 and it is envisaged that findings will enable in-depth discussion for future treatment interventions in mental health care,” according to tender documents.

This tender is being managed by the HSE’s Health Business Services’ procurement unit on behalf of the CHO 1 mental health services, which will oversee the delivery of the contract.

“Internationally, more focus is being placed on coercive interventions in mental health services,” state the documents.

“The mental health services in CHO 1 would like to establish a standard practice across its geographical area and move in line with international thinking towards limiting or eliminating coercive interventions. The rationale for this relates to more knowledge regarding trauma-informed care and human rights-based approaches to care.”

The successful tenderer will be required to provide an interim report by the end of August 2020 and a final project report by May 2021.

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