To lock or not to lock patients' rooms: The key to autonomy?

Netta Shoenfeld, Anne Marie Ulman, Mordechai Weiss, Rael D. Strous

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Many patients with schizophrenia experience prominent negative symptoms. Functional impairment often results in patients who remain in their rooms for most of the day. It has thus become common practice in many psychiatric wards to lock patients' rooms during much of the morning and afternoon hours to encourage participation in ward activities and treatment modalities. Within the context of a quality control evaluation, two self-report surveys were conducted among patients (N=20) and staff members (N=9) in Beer Yaakov, Israel: the first survey was given when the rooms were locked at certain times, and the second survey was given after the rooms had been unlocked for one week. Patients and staff members expressed differing views both before and after the weeklong open-door policy (patients enjoyed the policy, whereas many staff did not). Behavior during the period of the open-door policy varied among patients. The authors discuss the ethical grounds of locking doors and whether it is a best practice in keeping with rehabilitation interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1100-1102
Number of pages3
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


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