Sedation for acute behavioural disturbance - endorsed guidelines

The RANZCP has endorsed the below guidelines, developed by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) with contributions from RANZCP Fellows.

►Guidelines for Safe Care for Patients Sedated in Health Care Facilities for Acute Behavioural Disturbance [ANZCA website] 

The RANZCP notes that the guidelines focus on sedation in emergency and other acute settings and acknowledges that there are necessarily variations in practice between those settings and the mental health environment, where it is common practice to offer oral or intramuscular PRN medication early in the event of escalating behavioural disturbance. However, the principles of care outlined in the guidelines are applicable in mental health settings.

In addition, the RANZCP notes that practitioners need to comply with relevant legislative requirements, including mental health legislation and medical treatment decision-making legislation.

The RANZCP recognises the importance of the guidelines to the improvement of safe sedation practices and anticipates developing a complementary guideline, specifically tailored to mental health settings.


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