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Office of Mental Health

Checklist for Assessing Your Organization’s Readiness

(David Colton, Ph.D.) Unpublished paper. Staunton, VA: Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents, 2004; revised 2010.

This checklist Leaving OMH site, designed to be used by behavioral health organizations for purposes of internal assessment, identifies a comprehensive set of factors and actions that need to be considered when developing your initiatives.

The checklist is based on two premises. In the author’s words: “The use of seclusion and restraint in mental health settings does not provide therapeutic benefits but increases risk of injury and trauma and therefore should be minimized and eventually eliminated. Current research … indicates that organizational factors play a greater part in facilitating reduction of seclusion and restraint than knowledge about the individual being secluded or restrained.”

The checklist is organized around nine themes:

Colton identified these themes through a process of content analysis based on an extensive review of publications and internet resources on restraint/seclusion reduction.

For each of these nine themes, the checklist asks a series of questions that operationalize the concepts involved. The instrument was reviewed by clinicians, program managers, educators from throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the behavioral health field, as well as by representatives of national organizations involved in restraint/seclusion reduction projects. It was then tested by several behavioral health care facilities, including state hospitals and a residential treatment program.

The first page of the document explains how to complete the checklist; which persons or groups within the organization should participate in the assessment; and various purposes the assessment can serve, including:

A more detailed presentation of these matters appears in the second section of the document, beginning on page 11.

Two appendices supplement the checklist. The first outlines and describes some of the characteristics and themes of an effective mental health staff training curriculum that supports the objectives of a restraint/seclusion reduction effort. The second provides 12 guidelines for developing an effective reduction program and provides a succinct statement of the reason for each guideline.