Deprivation of liberty in psychiatric treatment: A finnish perspective

Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, Johanna Taipale, Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article is concerned with the deprivation of patients’ liberty while undergoing psychiatric treatment, with special reference to the situation in Finland. It is based on a review of Finnish law, health care statistics, and empirical and theoretical studies. Relevant research findings from other countries are also discussed. In Finland, it is required that patients are cared for by mutual understanding with themselves; coercive measures may be applied only if they are necessary for the treatment of the illness, or for safeguarding patients’ safety or the safety of others. Involuntary psychiatric hospitalization is closely regulated by the Mental Health Act. However, the rules concerning the deprivation of liberty during inpatient treatment (by seclusion, restraint and restricted leave) are formulated in very general terms. Therefore, Finnish psychiatric hospitals have their own policies concerning when and how seclusion may be used. The practice of seclusion and the use of restraint therefore vary among the psychiatric hospitals in Finland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-532
Number of pages11
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • deprivation
  • liberty
  • patients’ rights
  • psychiatric nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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