Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secluding aggressive young offenders is always the last resort, four-country study finds

Date:
November 4, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Seclusion should always be the last resort when it comes to dealing with aggressive episodes involving young offenders with psychiatric disorders, according to a study covering forensic units for 12 to 18-year-olds in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and UK. 58 staff took part in the study including nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, educators, support workers, occupational, art and family therapists and sports instructors.

Seclusion should always be the last resort when it comes to dealing with aggressive episodes involving young offenders with psychiatric disorders, according to staff who took part in a four-country study published in the November issue of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.

Related Articles


Researchers led by the Universities of Turku and Tampere, Finland, report that the multi-disciplinary teams they spoke to said that verbal intervention was their first choice. Putting adolescents in a bare, locked room was viewed as the least favoured option in the three countries where seclusion remains legal.

The research team also found that countries with a longer history of treating adolescents in medium to high security units tended to use less physical restraints on fewer occasions.

"Adolescent aggressive behaviour poses a challenge for staff working in forensic units, which cater for 12 to 18 year-olds who have been in trouble with the law, because it occurs so frequently" says lead author Johanna Berg from the Department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku.

"Our study of units in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and UK found that while the principles of dealing with aggression were fairly similar, there were some differences in the practical solutions."

The study comprised forensic units ranging from eight to 12 beds, treating young offenders with a range of problems, including: severe mental health disorders, delinquent, violent and non-compliant behaviour and impulse control problems. One unit was established in the 1980s (UK), two in the 1990s (Belgium and the Netherlands) and one in the 2000s (Finland).

The 58 staff, including nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, educators, support workers, occupational, art and family therapists and sports instructors, had an average age of 36.

Key findings from the one-to-one interviews included:

  • Verbal intervention was the favoured technique and was most effective when it was clear, structured and used in the early stages of aggression. Talking about the incident afterwards was also very important, so that both the adolescent and staff could reflect on why it happened and how it could be prevented in future.
  • Staff planned daily routines and worked together so that risks were minimised. Being able to respond quickly and call on colleagues for support, including staff from other units, was vital.
  • Isolation techniques ranged from separating the aggressor from other adolescents for five to 15 minutes, to give them a chance to calm down, to seclusion, which was only used when less restrictive interventions had failed. It was not used in Finland, where it is banned by legislation.
  • Duveting, where the adolescent is swathed in blankets to prevent violent acts and enable staff to transfer them to the seclusion room was not used in the UK unit. Restraint beds with straps were only used in Finland, for intensive care and for as short a time as possible.
  • If medication was needed it was jointly decided between the staff and adolescent, if possible. Forced medication was rarely used and only in major incidents where safety was seriously compromised.
  • Key factors that determined the level of response included the level of aggression involved, how well staff knew the individual adolescent's behaviour and what had proved helpful in the past.
  • Teamwork was important and all members of the multi-disciplinary team needed to be committed to therapeutic aggression management.

"Staff in all four units displayed high ethical standards when it came to the use of restrictive treatment measures" says Johanna Berg. "They endeavoured to cooperate with the adolescent as long as possible and avoid coercive measures, while still maintaining the safety of others."

The research team have come up with a number of key recommendations for clinical practice as a result of their research:

  • Continuous education is necessary to ensure that staff know how to evaluate incidents and implement the safest and most effective practices when intervening in aggressive situations.
  • Sufficient resources should be available so that the needs of adolescents can be met without compromising the occupation safety and well-being of the staff that care for them. This will help to retain qualified staff in this challenging working environment.
  • Further studies are needed to identify current practices, measure how effective they are and suggest how they could be improved.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Berg, R. Kaltiala-Heino, M. Vδlimδki. Management of aggressive behaviour among adolescents in forensic units: a four-country perspective. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 2011; 18 (9): 776 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01726.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Secluding aggressive young offenders is always the last resort, four-country study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120218.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, November 4). Secluding aggressive young offenders is always the last resort, four-country study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120218.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Secluding aggressive young offenders is always the last resort, four-country study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120218.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) — More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) — A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins