The use of seclusion in the Netherlands compared to countries in and outside Europe

Wim A. Janssen, E. O. Noorthoorn, W. J. de Vries, G. J.M. Hutschemeakers, H. H.G.M. Lendemeijer, G. A.M. Widdershoven

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53 Citations (Scopus)


The use of seclusion in psychiatric practice is a contentious issue in the Netherlands as well as other countries in and outside Europe. The aim of this study is to describe Dutch seclusion data and compare these with data on other countries, derived from the literature. An extensive search revealed only 11 articles containing seclusion rates of regions or whole countries either in Europe, Australia or the United States. Dutch seclusion rates were calculated from a governmental database and from a database covering twelve General Psychiatric Hospitals in the Netherlands. According to the hospitals database, on average one in four hospitalized patients experienced a seclusion episode. The mean duration according to the governmental database is a staggering 16 days. Both numbers seem much higher than comparable numbers in other countries. However, different definitions, inconsistent methods of registration, different methods of data collection and an inconsistent expression of the seclusion use in rates limit comparisons of the rates found in the reviewed studies with the data gathered in the current study. Suggestions are made to improve data collection, to enable better comparisons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of law and psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


  • International comparisons
  • Methodological issues
  • Published seclusion rates
  • Seclusion incidence

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