• Alternative method;
  • inductive content analysis;
  • psychiatric inpatient;
  • psychiatry;
  • restraint;
  • seclusion

PURPOSE:  This study explored psychiatric inpatients' experiences of, and their suggestions for, improvement of seclusion/restraint, and alternatives to their use in Finland.

METHODS:  The data were collected by focused interviews (n= 30) and were analyzed with inductive content analysis.

RESULTS:  Patients' perspectives received insufficient attention during seclusion/restraint processes. Improvements (e.g., humane treatment) and alternatives (e.g., empathetic patient–staff interaction) to seclusion/restraint, as suggested by the patients, focused on essential parts of nursing practice but have not been largely adopted.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:  Patients' basic needs have to be met, and patient–staff interaction has to also continue during seclusion/restraint. Providing patients with meaningful activities, planning beforehand, documenting the patients' wishes, and making patient–staff agreements reduce the need for restrictions and offer alternatives for seclusion/restraint. Service users must be involved in all practical development.