Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services;
Part B - VII. Freedom From Unnecessary Seclusion and Restraint

A. Seclusion

  1. Seclusion means the placement of a recipient alone in an isolation room from which exit is denied.

  2. Seclusion may be employed only in the following instances:

    a. when absolutely necessary to protect the recipient from causing physical harm to self or others; and

    b. to prevent further serious disruption that significantly interferes with other recipients' treatment. Behaviors causing serious disruption that interferes with others' treatment may include uncontrollable screaming, public masturbation, indecent exposure and uncontrolled intrusiveness on other recipients. Use of seclusion may be appropriate in these circumstances if the behaviors cannot be controlled through lesser restrictive means than seclusion and if the behaviors will likely be controlled with the use of seclusion. Seclusion may not be used solely to address the comfort, convenience or anxiety of staff; to address factors related to ward or unit dynamics; to control a recipient's mild obnoxiousness, rudeness, obstinacy, use of profanity or other unpleasantness; nor as discipline for resolved behaviors.

    Seclusion under these circumstances shall be employed in the following manner:

       i. if the recipient is examined in person by a physician or physician extender to the implementation of seclusion; or

       ii. by a registered nurse in telephone consultation with a physician or physician extender.

  3. Seclusion may be used only if less restrictive measures are inappropriate or have proven to be ineffective.

  4. The decision to place a recipient in seclusion shall be made by a physician or physician extender and shall be entered as a medical order in the recipient's records.

  5. All recipients must be examined before being placed in seclusion in accordance with the following:

    a. If the physician or physician extender is not immediately available to examine the recipient, the recipient may be placed in seclusion following an examination by a registered nurse if the registered nurse finds that the recipient poses a. risk of imminent harm to self others or following an examination by the nurse and wit telephone consultation from the physician or physician extender in order to prevent further serious disruption that significantly interferes with other recipients' treatment. Any recipient placed in seclusion under these circumstances shall be kept under constant observation while awaiting an examination by a physician or physician extender.

    b. The examination by the registered nurse shall be conducted in accordance with a protocol approved by the chief of psychiatry or medicine and by the Director of Nursing. The protocol must include the following:

    i. A list of indicators or organic causes of changed behaviors.
    ii. Elements for assessment including but not limited to known medical disorders;

    a. the recipient's medications including URN administration,
    b. mental status, with observation of behavior, speech, affect and suicidal/homicidal ideation;
    c. brief neurological examination: pupil size and reactivity, gait, limb movement and strength;
    d. vital signs; and
    e. cognition using a standard tool.

    iii. Provision for completion as soon as is clinically sound, those elements of assessment that require the recipient's cooperation and that the nurse may not be able to perform immediately due to the recipient's condition.

    c. A physician or physician extender shall personally evaluate the recipient within 30 minutes after the recipient has been placed in seclusion. If the evaluation does not take place within 30 minutes, the reasons for the delay shall be documented in the recipient's record. This provision applies to all recipients, including those placed in seclusion during the night. Any recipient placed in seclusion shall be kept under constant observation while awaiting an examination by a physician or physician extender. The physician examination must be conducted as follows:

    i. At Augusta Mental Health Institute the physician or physician extender examination shall be conducted in person in all instances.
    ii. At all other facilities, the physician examination may be conducted via telephone consultation with the registered nurse and shall include consideration of the results of the nurse's formal assessment. The physician may order seclusion on the basis of this consultation and shall enter any additional orders for further assessments or treatment as appropriate. Thereafter a physician or physical extender shall examine the recipient in person:

    a. within 1 hour when the registered nurse requests that a physician evaluate the recipient in person;
    b. within 1 hour when the information is suggestive of organic causes that could lead to harm to the recipient;
    c. within 1 hour if the recipient has not had a physical examination during the current hospital stay; and
    d. within 12 hours in all other instances.

  6. Documentation of the physician or physician extender's examination and, if applicable, the registered nurse's assessment must lie entered in the recipient's file.

  7. Staff who place recipients in seclusion shall have documented training in the proper techniques, in less restrictive alternatives to seclusion and in the detection of organic causes of behavioral disturbances.

  8. As soon as possible, staff should make reasonable efforts to notify the recipient's parent, guardian or designated representative, if any, that the recipient has been placed in seclusion, and the reasons therefore.

  9. Each order for initiation or extension of seclusion shall state the time of entry of the order. It shall state the number of hours the recipient may be secluded, not to exceed ten and the conditions under which the recipient may be sooner released.

  10. No PRN orders for seclusion may be written and no treatment plan may include its use as a treatment approach.

  11. The need for a recipient's continuation in seclusion shall be re-evaluated every 2 hours by a nurse. The nurse shall examine the recipient in person. This examination may be conducted outside the seclusion room. The nurse shall note the clinical reasons for selection of the examination site. The nurse shall assess the recipient to determine whether he or she continues to pose a danger to self or others, or continues to cause serious disruption of other recipients' treatment (in cases in which an examining physician or physician extender has ordered seclusion for this reason). If the nurse finds danger and that the recipient continues to require seclusion, seclusion may be continued if the physician's or physician extender's order has not yet lapsed. Should the recipient not need continued seclusion, the nurse shall release the recipient even if the time frame of the original order has not yet elapsed.

  12. A special progress record/check sheet shall be maintained for each use of seclusion and shall include the following documentation:

    a. The indication for use of seclusion, i.e. whether a danger to self, others, or serious disruption of other recipients' treatment;

    b. A description of the behaviors that constitute the recipient's danger to self, others, or serious disruption of other recipients' treatment;

    c. A description of less restrictive alternatives used or considered, and a description of why these alternatives proved ineffective or why they were deemed inappropriate upon consideration.

  13. All orders for the extension of seclusion shall include documentation as for an original order. If the recipient is examined outside of the seclusion room, progress notes shall additionally state where the recipient was examined and the clinical reasons for selecting the site.

  14. Every recipient placed in seclusion shall be released, unless clinically contraindicated, at least every two hours to eat drink, bathe, toilet and to meet any special medical orders.

  15. Recipients placed in seclusion shall be given maximum observation and in no instance shall they be visually monitored less often than every 15 minutes.

  16. A description of the recipient's behavior as observed shall be noted on the progress record/check sheet every 15 minutes.

  17. The total amount of time that a recipient spends in seclusion may not exceed 24 hours unless:

    a. Thee recipient is reassessed in accordance with the protocol described at 5(b) above;

    b. The recipient is examined, at Augusta Mental Health Institute, by the director of psychiatry or clinical services and, in other hospitals, by a chief of psychiatry or medicine or his or her physician designee. In cases where the chief or director is the treating physician, he or she shall appoint another physician to conduct hit required examination;

    c. The order extending seclusion beyond a total of 24 hours is entered by the director of psychiatry or c1hical services or by the chief of psychiatry or medicine following the examination of the recipient and consultation with the other examiners; and

    d. The recipient's guardian or designated representative, if any, and if available, has been notified.

  18. Records required by the above provisions shall be a part of the recipient's permanent record. At the mental health institutes, copies shall be forwarded to the medical director, the clinical services director and the recipient advocate. At all other facilities, copies shall be forwarded to the chief of psychiatry or medical services. For a period of one year following adoption of these regulations, these facilities shall submit summaries or copies of reports of each use of seclusion to the Division of Licensing of the Department of DHHS. Said reports to DHHS shall be submitted on a quarterly basis, shall not contain information identifying the recipient by name but shall be reported in a manner to permit the reader to discern whether individual recipients have been secluded on repeat occasions.

  19. Seclusion may be ordered on the basis of a recipient's self-report, provided the physician extender otherwise verified that the recipient meets the criteria of paragraph 2 above and provided the decision is otherwise clinically appropriate.

B. Restraint

  1. Restraint is the immobilization of a recipient's arms, legs or entire body through the use of an apparatus that is not a protective device as described in sub-section VI.C below.

  2. Restraint may be employed only when absolutely necessary to protect the recipient from serious physical injury to self or others and shall impose the least possible restriction consistent with its purpose.

  3. Restraint may be used only after less restrictive measures have proven to be inappropriate or ineffective. The extent to which less restrictive measures are attempted at the time of the incident will be governed by the degree of risk of physical harm to the recipient or others.

  4. The decision to place a recipient in restraint shall be made by a physician or a physician extender and shall be entered as a medical order in the recipient's records.

  5. All recipients must be examined before being placed in restraint in accordance with the following:

    a. If the physician or physician extender is not immediately available to examine the recipient, the recipient may be placed in restraint following examination by a registered nurse if the nurse finds that the recipient poses a risk of imminent harm to self or others.
    b. The examination by the registered nurse shall be conducted in accordance with a protocol approved by the chief of psychiatry or medicine and by the Director of Nursing. The protocol must include the following:

    i. A list of indicators for organic causes of changed behaviors.

    ii. Elements for assessment, including but not limited to: known medical disorders;

    a. the recipient's medications including PRN medications;

    b. mental status, with observation of behavior, speech, affect and suicidal/homicidal deviation;

    c. brief neurological examination: pupil size and reactivity, gait, limb movement and strength;

    d. vital signs; and

    e. cognition using a standard tool.

    iii. Provision for completion as soon as is clinically sound, those elements of assessment that require the recipient's cooperation and that the registered nurse may not be able to perform immediately due to the recipient's condition.

    c. A physician or physician extender must thereafter examine the recipient within 30 minutes of the recipient's having been placed in restraint. If the evaluation does not take place within 30 minutes, the reasons for the delay shall be documented in the recipient's record. This provision applies to all recipients, including those placed in restraint during the night. The physician examination must be conducted as follows:

    i. At Augusta Mental Health Institute the physician or physician extender examination shall be conducted in person in all instances.

    ii. At all other facilities, the physician examination may be conducted via telephone consultation with the registered nurse and shall include consideration of the results of the registered nurse's formal assessment. The physician may order seclusion on the basis of this consultation and shall enter any additional orders for further assessments or treatment as appropriate. Thereafter a physician shall examine the recipient in person:

    a. within 1 hour when the registered nurse requests that a physician evaluate the recipient in person;

    b. within 1 hour when the information is suggestive of organic causes that could lead to harm to the recipient;

    c. within 1 hour if the recipient has not had a physical examination during the current hospital stay; and

    d. within six hours in all other instances.

  6. Documentation of the physician or physician extender's examination and, if applicable, the registered nurse's assessment must be entered in the recipient's file.

  7. Staff who place recipients in restraint shall have documented training in the proper techniques, in less restrictive alternatives to restraint and in the detection of organic causes of behavioral disturbances.

  8. As soon as possible, staff should make reasonable efforts to notify the recipient's guardian, or designated representative, if any, that the recipient has been placed in restraint and the reasons therefore.

  9. Each order for initiation or extension of restraint shall state die time of entry of the order. It shall state the number of hours the recipient may be restrained, not to exceed six, and the conditions under which the recipient may be sooner released.

  10. No PRN orders for restraint may be written and no treatment plan may include its use as a treatment approach.

  11. The need for a recipient's continuation in restraint shall be re-evaluated every two hours by a nurse. The nurse shall examine the recipient in person. This examination may be conducted with the recipient free of restraints. The nurse shall note the clinical reasons for selecting whether the recipient is examined in or free of restraints. The nurse shall assess the recipient to determine whether he or she continues to pose a danger of imminent injury to self or others. If the nurse finds such danger and that the recipient continues to require restraint, restraint use may be continued if the physician's or physician extender's order has not yet lapsed. Should the recipient not need continued restraint, the nurse shall release the recipient even if the time frame of the original order has not yet elapsed.

  12. A special progress/check sheet record shall be maintained for each use of restraint and shall include the following documentation:

    a. The indication for use of restraint.

    b. A description of the behaviors that constitute the recipient's danger to self or others.

    c. A description of less restrictive alternatives used or considered, and a description of why these alternatives proved ineffective or why they were deemed inappropriate upon consideration.

  13. In all facilities, the recipient shall be examined in person by a physician or physician extender before any order for restraint is extended. All orders for the extension of restraint shall include documentation as for an original order, but shall additionally state whether the recipient was examined in or free or restraints and the clinical reasons therefore.

  14. Every recipient placed in restraint shall be frequently monitored and released as necessary to eat, drink, bathe, toilet, and to meet any special medical orders. Recipients in restraint shall have each extremity examined and the restraint loosened, sequentially, no less frequently than every 15 minutes. In instances in which blanket wraps are utilized for restraint, the recipient will be released and examined no less frequently than every hour.

  15. Recipients in restraint shall. be kept under constant observation.

  16. A description of the recipient's behavior as observed shall be noted on the progress record/check sheet every 15 minutes.

  17. The total amount of time that a recipient spends in restraint may not exceed 24 hours unless:

    a. The recipient is reassessed in accordance, with the protocol described at 5(b) above.

    b. The recipient is examined, at Augusta Mental Health Institute, by the director of psychiatry or clinical services and in other hospitals, by a chief of psychiatry or medicine or his or her physician designee. In cases where the chief or director is also the treating physician, he or she shall appoint another physician to conduct the required examination.

    c. The order extending restraint beyond a total of 24 hours is entered by the director of psychiatry or clinical services or by the chief of psychiatry or medicine following his or her examination of the recipient and consultation with the other examiners.

    d. The recipients guardian or designated representative, if any, has been notified.

  18. Records required by the above provisions shall be made a part of the recipient's permanent record. At the mental health institutes, copies shall be forwarded to the medical director, the clinical services director and the recipient advocate. At all other facilities, copies shall be forwarded to the chief of psychiatry or medical services. For a period of one year following adoption of these regulations, these facilities shall submit summaries or copies of reports of each use of restraint to the Division of Licensing of the DHHS. Said reports to DHHS shall be submitted on a quarterly basis, shall not contain information identifying the recipient by name but shall be reported in a manner to permit the reader to discern whether individual patients have been restrained on repeat occasions.

  19. If a recipient communicates via sign language, consideration will be given to restraining the recipient in such a manner as to permit the use of hands for communication purposes.

C. Protective Devices.

  1. Protective devices that are used for medical reasons to ensure a recipient's safety and comfort, to provide recipient's stability during medical procedures, facilitate medical (non-psychiatric) treatment or safeguard health in the treatment of a health-related problem are exempt from the operation of the foregoing procedures governing the use of restraints. The following procedures for use of protective devices may never be used, however, as a substitute for those governing restraint or seclusion.

    Examples of some protective devices axe: bed-padding or bolsters to maintain a recipient's body alignment; devices for the immobilization of fractures; devices to permit the safe administration of intravenous solutions or to prevent their removal; protective equipment, such as mitts, to prevent the aggravation of the medical condition through scratching, rubbing or digging; helmets to protect the head from falls due to unsteadiness, seizures or self-injurious behavior; seat belts or vest restraints to prevent ambulation when it is medically contra-indicated or to permit a recipient, who for medical reasons could not do so unassisted, to remain in a seated position.

    The use of protective devices shall be subject to the following:

    a. The decision to use a protective device shall be made by a physician who has examined the recipient prior to its use. The decision shall be entered as a medical order in the recipient's record.

    b. When ordering use of a protective device, the physician shall select a device that interferes with the recipient's free movement and ability to interact with his or her environment to the least degree necessary to achieve the medical purpose for which the device is ordered.

    c. Staff who use protective devices shall have the documented training in their application.

    d. The need for the use of a protective device shall be reevaluated biweekly by a physician who examines the recipient. Orders for devices that immobilize recipients shall be re-evaluated daily. If the physician determines that continued use of the protective device is clinically indicated, further use may be ordered. The order for extension of use shall be entered as a medical order in the recipient's record.

    e. Protective devices that hamper a recipient's free movement, such as mitts or vest restraints, shall be removed every two hours, so that the recipient may be permitted free movement, unless the physician's order indicates that removal would interfere with the recipient's health care. The physician shall indicate in his or her order the level of staff supervision and assistance necessary during the recipient's periods of free movement. Where protective devices have been routinely used, the recipient's treatment plan will address ways of reducing or eliminating their use.

    f. A special progress record/check sheet shall be maintained for each use of protective devices that hamper a recipient's free movement. These check sheets shall be used to document the recipient's relief from the device every two hours and shall include a. description of the recipient's condition as observed during the period of fire movement

    g. Every recipient to whom a protective device has been applied shall be frequently monitored and assisted as necessary to meet personal needs and to participate in treatment and activities.