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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2009 May;16(4):376-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01412.x.

Physical intervention trainers: the case for greater accountability.

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  • 1Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK.


Physical intervention training courses are commonplace events in psychiatric and mental healthcare settings across the UK. While there is still debate as to what techniques should be taught on such courses, there is good evidence as to the mechanisms whereby pain, injury and even death can be inflicted. There is also a wealth of literature identifying how organizational culture can influence the quality of service delivery and standards of client care. It is well documented that the dignity, well-being and physical integrity of service users can be compromised by staff acts and omissions stemming from corrupted cultures. What has not been explored in detail to date is the role of physical intervention trainer, specifically the values they model and how these may influence the readiness with which staff resort to physical restraint strategies. It is possible that even approved physical techniques can become compromised through poor training technique and expose end recipients to needless humiliation and potential harm. This paper discusses this area of practice, offers insight on how the learning process is compromised by trainers and suggests areas for future research.

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