Close-observation areas in acute psychiatric units: A literature review

Louise O'Brien, Rose Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Close-observation areas in Australian inpatient psychiatric units are locked areas usually within an open ward. Despite patient acuity, and the inherent difficulties in this area, little has been written that addresses either the processes or goals of containing patients, the role of nurses, or the skills involved. This paper examines the literature related to close-observation areas and argues that they are highly demanding of expert psychiatric nursing skills. Nurses need to advocate for humane, well-resourced areas, staffed with highly skilled nurses in order to fulfil the obligations of the national nursing and mental health service standards and to reduce the deleterious effects of hospitalization on patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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