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​Restraint and seclusion are behavioural management interventions that should be used as a last resort to control a behavioural emergency. Behavioural emergencies are often the result of unmet health, functional, or psychosocial needs, and you can often reduce, eliminate, or manage such emergencies by addressing the conditions that produced them.

Restraints include the use of physical force, mechanical devices, or chemicals to immobilize a person. Seclusion, a type of restraint, involves confining a person in a room from which the person cannot exit freely.

Restraint and seclusion are not therapeutic care procedures. In fact, restraint and seclusion can induce further physical or psychosocial trauma. In short, these procedures pose a safety risk to the emotional and physical well-being of the person and have no known long-term benefit in reducing behaviours. 

This module will teach you:

  • What problems are associated with restraints
  • Why any restraint should be considered an intervention of last resort and should, at most, only be used temporarily in a behavioural emergency

Learning Objectives

  • Situate the use of restraints in the larger context of a least-restraint approach

Want to learn more? Download the module.

This document was revised in September 2017.

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