The objective of the study was to compare development in symptoms, behaviours, treatment and patient satisfaction of a traditional interior and an interior furnished like an ordinary home in a seclusion area. A naturalistic sample of 56 consecutive patients admitted to an acute ward was allocated to two different seclusion areas, one with a traditional interior and one decorated as an ordinary home. Symptoms of psychopathology, therapeutic steps taken, violent episodes, length of patient stay and patient satisfaction were recorded. There were no differences in changes in scores on The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for schizophrenia, The Brøset Violence Checklist or the Global Assessment of Function split version scale between the two patient groups. Therapeutic steps taken, number of violent episodes and length of patient stay was also similar. Female patients preferred an ordinary home interior. It was concluded that interior and furnishing like an ordinary home in the seclusion areas created an environment with comparable treatment outcomes to the traditional dismal interior, and had positive effects on many patients' well-being, at least among the women. The traditional beliefs that a sparsely decorated interior is a method to reduce symptoms of psychopathology and dangerous behaviours were not supported by our data.
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