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Aust J Adv Nurs. 2002 Jun-Sep;19(4):21-6.

Limit setting: a useful strategy in rehabilitation.

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St Vincent's Mental Health Service, Melbourne, Australia.


Limit setting is a concept familiar to most mental health clinicians, but much less familiar to staff not specifically trained in mental health care. This paper presents guidelines developed for rehabilitation staff on the strategy of limit setting. The aim of these guidelines was to provide a starting point for ongoing education on limit setting and behavioural management for staff working in a non-psychiatric rehabilitation environment. Limit setting is presented, not only as a response to challenging behaviour, but also as fundamental to all patient care within the rehabilitation context. The guidelines draw on the concepts of limit setting, acting out, therapeutic relationships and therapeutic milieu as described in the psychiatric literature. A humanistic framework for helping people underpins the guidelines. Principles for selecting and enforcing limits are described. Finally, a list of clarification prompts is provided for clinicians to use when faced with challenging patient behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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