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J Adv Nurs. 1997 Oct;26(4):780-9.

An ethnomethodological analysis of the use of seclusion.

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Liverpool University/Ashworth Hospital, Maghull, Merseyside, England.


The use of seclusion in psychiatric practice is a contentious issue. This paper reports on an ethnomethodological approach to understanding the decision-making process in the use of seclusion. Through first-level and second-level reasoning analysis, three themes emerged which underscored the subjects' rationalization process. These were: (a) mechanistic searching, (b) frame conflict, and (c) asylum status. This research suggests that the decision to use seclusion is based on a complex interplay of cultural and organizational factors rather than due to the presentation of symptoms by the patient.

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