A psychiatric unit has been forced to defend in public its seclusion procedures after a complaint was made against it for keeping a patient in one room for the past eight weeks.
Kim Goodband, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrena, was put into seclusion under mental health law after allegedly assaulting a member of staff at Arnold Lodge, Humberstone, Leicester, on November 22.
The family of the 45-year-old patient have lodged a formal complaint.
They say that they have not been allowed family visits or telephone calls since November 22, the Leicester Mercury newspaper reported on Saturday.
Her family complained that Ms Goodband had not been allowed out to shower or take exercise. Letters and presents the family sent have only been shown to Ms Goodband through a glass screen.
But Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs medium-secure Arnold Lodge, issued a statement emphasising seclusion is used as a last resort to manage patients considered to be a danger.
“”In some cases, this has to mean a restriction on access to washing facilities or exercise due to the risks involved to others,” the statement read.
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz has intervened, writing a letter outlining his concerns to Arnold Lodge.
The Mental Health Act states seclusion should be carried out “for the shortest possible period of time” and should not be used as a punishment or a threat, as part of a treatment programme, be due to a shortage of staff or where there is a risk of suicide or self-harm.
The Mental Health Act Commission stated last year: “The starting point of all care-planning whilst patients are in seclusion, or where seclusion might be used, should be in terminating seclusion as quickly as possible and supporting the patient throughout and after the process.”