Impact of the Creation and Implementation of a Clinical Management Guideline for Personality Disorders in Reducing Use of Mechanical Restraints in a Psychiatric Inpatient Unit



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Objective: To evaluate the impact of the implementation of a guideline for the management of personality disorders on reducing the frequency of use of mechanical restraints in a psychiatric inpatient unit.

Method: This retrospective study was conducted in a psychiatric inpatient unit with 42 beds, which serves an urban area of 330,000 inhabitants. The sample consisted of all patients with a clinical diagnosis of personality disorder (DSM-IV-TR criteria) who were admitted to the unit from January 2010 to December 2010 and from January 2011 to December 2011 (ie, before and after, respectively, the implementation of the guideline). The guideline focused on cluster B disorders and follows a psychodynamic perspective.

Results: Restraint use was reduced from 38 of 87 patients with personality disorders (43.7%) to 3 of 112 (2.7%), for a relative risk of 0.06 (95% CI, 0.02–0.19) and an absolute risk reduction of 41% (95% CI, 29.9%–51.6%). The risk of being discharged against medical advice increased after the intervention, with a relative risk of 1.84 (95% CI, 0.96–3.51). Restraint use in patients with other diagnoses was also reduced to a similar extent.

Conclusions: The use of mechanical restraints was dramatically reduced after the implementation of a clinical practice guideline on personality disorders, suggesting that these coercive measures might be decreased in psychiatric inpatient units.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2014;16(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.14m01675