Recovery Model Implementation for a Medical/Geriatric Psychiatric Unit to Decrease Restraint and Seclusion Episodes: A Quality Improvement Project

Sara Ayres, Mary Fran Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: In inpatient behavioral health units, a long-standing behavioral management controversy has been whether to physically restrain or seclude patients. The rate of restraint use at the institution underperformed compared with the national average, which led to the project implementation. Aims: This quality improvement project’s objective was to decrease restraint and seclusion use, improve quality of care, and decrease cost through implementation of recovery model principles. Method: Implementation started in October 2019 on a 14-bed inpatient medical/geriatric psychiatric unit with 38 psychiatric RNs at a large academic medical center. The project was a pre–post implementation design with interventions consisting of staff education, RN language observation, and orientation toolkit development. Changes in staff knowledge were measured by Recovery Knowledge Inventory surveys at baseline, 1 week posteducation, and 4 months posteducation. Restraint and seclusion use data were analyzed 3 months preimplementation and 3 months postimplementation. Results: Staff knowledge of the recovery model increased from baseline to 1 week postimplementation in all four survey domains (range = 6% to 9% improvement). While improvements were maintained in two survey domains, two domains of staff knowledge showed slight declines (1% to 2% decline in scores) 4 months postintervention. Restraint use decreased 73.1% and seclusion use decreased 16.3% from pre to postintervention. Conclusion: Implementation of recovery model principles can decrease restraint and seclusion episodes, which increases quality and decreases cost to the organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sara Ayres would like to thank the nursing staff and administration at the hospital where the data were collected for their support and contributions. The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • nursing
  • recovery model
  • restraint
  • seclusion

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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