A padded cell is a cell in a psychiatric hospital with cushions lining the walls. The padding is an attempt to prevent a patient from hurting themselves by hitting their head (or other bodily parts) on the hard surface of the walls. In most cases, the person placed in a padded cell is compelled to be there.
A padded cell is sometimes colloquially known as a "rubber room".
Most padded cells are the same size as a single room, about 10 feet from front to back and about 8 feet wide, and are designed for single occupancy, short-term occupation. The walls and floor are padded. The padding is about four inches deep. The walls are usually made of pouches of strong canvas or leather, covered in rubberized paint. The floor is covered in leather. Often the padding used was cork crumbs. The door to the cell was made of very strong wood or wood reinforced with steel. The door had an observation port which allowed a full and uninterrupted view of the room and its occupant. The inside of the door was also padded. The doors were typically secured by locks and bolts of various designs.
The length of time patients were kept in a padded cell would vary greatly. Sometimes patients could remain locked in one for several days. A patient might also be made to wear a straitjacket if they were considered a risk of self-harm.
The use of padded cells and straitjackets fell dramatically following the introduction of psychotropic drugs in the 1950s and their presence/use is now rare in modern mental health care facilities in most of the industrialized world. The use of padded rooms, or isolation is still a common occurrence in mental health facilities across the United States.
A reconstructed padded cell is maintained at the Stephen Beaumont Museum, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield, UK
- "rubber room" definition from Double-Tongued Dictionary
- Use and abuse of seclusion and restraints in the United States.
- TheTimeChamber - History and photographs of Padded Cells in Great Britain
- rubber room (USA) and padded room (UK) photos in abandoned hospitals
|This psychology-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|