Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 April 2020
The use of physical coercion and involuntary admission is one of the most controversial practices in medicine, it is now understood that perceived coercion is multidimensional and is associated with procedural justice and perceived pressures, and not simply related to the legal status of the patient.
We sought to determine the rate of physical coercion used and the perceived pressures and procedural justice experienced by the person at the time of involuntary admission and whether this influenced future engagement with the mental health services.
Over a 15 month period, people admitted involuntarily were interviewed prior to discharge and at one year follow-up.
81 people participated in the study and 81% were interviewed at one year follow-up. At the time of involuntary admission, over half of people experienced at least one form of physical coercion and it was found that the level of procedural justice experienced was unrelated to the use of physical coercive measures. A total of 20% of participants intended not to voluntarily engage with the mental health services upon discharge and they were more likely to have experienced lower levels of procedural justice at the time of admission. At one year following discharge, 65% of participants were adherent with outpatient appointments and 18% had been readmitted involuntarily. The level of procedural justice experienced at admission did not predict future engagement with services.
This study demonstrates that the use of physical coercive measures is a separate entity from procedural justice and perceived pressures.