Reducing restrictive practice: A pertinent issue for children's services

Sheena Bynoe*, Jacqueline Collin, Louise L. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reduction of restrictive practice has gained momentum in mental health services and it is now becoming evident in mainstream adult services. There remains confusion as to the definition of 'restrictive practices' across all sectors of health care, including the difference between 'restrictive practices' (such as attitudes of control, limit setting and unnecessary ward rules) and 'restrictive interventions' (including physical, chemical or mechanical restraint). This article highlights the relevance of restrictive practice to children's nursing and argues that the principles apply across all health provision. Acts of restrictive practice may result in challenging behaviour, or even restrictive interventions, strategies to minimise both restrictive practice and subsequent acts of challenging behaviour are explored. Behavioural support plans adopting a bio-psycho-pharmaco-social approach have been shown to be effective in both mental health and adult nursing and are recommended for use in children's nursing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-73
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021


  • Behavioural support plans
  • Bio-psycho-pharmaco-social approach
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Children's nursing
  • Communication
  • Environment
  • Restrictive practice


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