Released in 2012, the guidelines begin with a forward by Department of Health Director General Precious Matsoso that acknowledges the vulnerability of mental health patients. The forward stresses that healthcare workers’ use of seclusion and physical restraint in regards to mental health patients should only be used in extreme circumstances as a matter of last resort.

The guidelines note that violent patients should only be physical restrained for brief periods during which medicine to control violence behaviour is administered. The document stresses seclusion and physical restraint may not be used as method to punish patients, and that patients and families  should be educated about the use and purpose of seclusion and mechanical restraint.

Thus, the 16-page guidelines outline appropriate and inappropriate instances in which seclusion and physical restraint may be used. The document then goes onto to describe appropriate record keeping, and monitoring and evaluation of instances in which seclusion and restraint have been used. Finally, the guidelines detail the requirements for dedicated seclusion rooms in facilities.

Download the policy guidelines: Policy Guidelines on Seclusion and Restraint of Mental Healthcare Users