Misuse of Restraint & Seclusion
What is a restraint?
A restraint is any manual method, physical or mechanical device, material or equipment that immobilizes or reduces your ability to move your arms, legs, body or head freely. A drug or medication used to manage behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is not a standard treatment or dosage for your condition is also a restraint.
For more information, see Restraint in Mental Health Facilities in Illinois Fact Sheet.
What does it mean to be secluded?
Seclusion means being alone in a room or an area you cannot leave and where others are not present. Restricting you to an area or a room that has been authorized as part of your treatment plan in response to certain behaviors is not considered seclusion.
For more information, see Seclusion in Mental Health Facilities in Illinois Fact Sheet.
If I am restrained or secluded, what are my rights?
The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code protects people from improper restraint and seclusion and provides that:
- You have the right to be told why you are being restrained or secluded.
- You may be restrained or secluded only in an emergency to prevent you from causing imminent serious physical harm to yourself or someone else.
- Restraint may not be used unless less restrictive interventions have been tried and have failed to protect you and others from harm.
For more information, see Seclusion in Mental Health Facilities in Illinois Fact Sheet and Restraint in Mental Health Facilities in Illinois Fact Sheet.
What should I do if I believe I have been improperly restrained or secluded?
You can report misuse of restraint and seclusion to the appropriate state agency, including:
- The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Human Services
- The Department of Public Health
- The Department of Children and Family Services.
See our webpage for Where to Report Abuse and Neglect.
If you or others feel you have been wrongfully restrained or secluded, you can contact EFE. We have long promoted alternatives to restraint and seclusion, and we challenge abuses in the application of such measures.
- View our Misuse of Restraint & Seclusion Resources page
- Read our Misuse of Restraint & Seclusion Overview page
- Learn about rights in institutions
- Get legal help
Last updated: September 25, 2020