January 13, 2016

Seclusion rates soar at Marlborough District Health Board 

Mental health patients in Marlborough and Nelson are placed in seclusion more often than anywhere else in the country, according to a new report by the Office of the Director of Mental Health.

The number of secluded patients at the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board was the second highest nationally in 2014 when adjusted for population size, while the number of seclusion events at the board was the highest in the country.

The report said seclusion should be an uncommon event and should only be used where "there is an imminent risk of danger to the individual or others and no other safe and effective alternative is possible". It should never be used for the purposes of discipline, coercion or staff convenience, or as a substitute for adequate levels of staff or active treatment.

Nationally, 736 patients were secluded out of a total of 7091 who spent time in New Zealand adult mental health services in 2014. 

Most patients were secluded for less than 24 hours, but 14 per cent of people were locked in a room alone for more than 48 hours. 

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