Reliability and Feasibility of Systematic Registration of Coercive Measures in Care for People With Intellectual Disabilities

Baukje Schippers*, Brenda J.M. Frederiks, Maroesjka van Nieuwenhuijzen, Carlo Schuengel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Policies limit the use of coercive measures as a measure of last resort to protect people from danger. Success of policies can only be determined by registering the use of coercive measures. The reliability of 57 standardized coercive measures was tested. In addition, implementation was investigated of improved registration in a residential care setting. This mixed methods study within a residential care organization for people with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands included 55 living units and 269 residents. Reliability of 57 standardized coercive measures was tested against other informants (colleague staff, trained outside observer) and results were validated by a panel of stakeholders. Second, the implementation of a mandatory routine registration system was investigated by comparing registration of coercive measures to personal files of 30 residents. Registration of coercive measures yielded reliable data for at least 25 out of 57 types of coercive measures. The second part of the study showed widely varying explanations of unreliable data by stakeholders, including knowledge and awareness of coercive measures of support staff and the influence of contextual factors on the encoding of coercive measures. After implementation, 46% of the coercive measures were registered in the registration system. Comprehensive registration of coercive measures by staff neither appeared feasible nor yielded reliable data. Clearly, multidisciplinary discussion among support staff and professionals is needed to decide whether care practices are restrictive or not. Further research should focus on how these considerations can lead to a reliable and meaningful registration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-213
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of policy and practice in intellectual disabilities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • coercive measures
  • intellectual disabilities
  • policy implications
  • registration
  • reliability
  • restrictive practices


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