Risk management which assesses and mitigates risks such as suicide and violence is under scrutiny, particularly within psychiatric inpatient settings. Restrictive practices, which result from risk assessment, such as observations, physical restraint and ward seclusion can impact negatively on patient recovery, hindering abilities to develop a meaningful life that emphasizes purpose, hope and autonomy, despite experiencing mental distress. Yet, less is known about the impact from the patient's perspective when first admitted to hospital, a period which among other reasons may come with increasing risk management practices owing to the clinical uncertainties about patient risks. In this grounded theory study, we explore the impact on recovery, interviewing 15 adult participants with patient experiences of being in an acute hospital. The main theme of the study, termed a core category with a grounded theory, was identified as “ontological insecurity of inattentiveness”. This highlighted a staff inattentiveness with involving patients with risk management and explaining the purposes of the practice, which raised insecurities about what was happening to the patients when admitted to hospital. Four subcategories support the core category; discounting the patients' experiences to gain a meaningful grasp of risk management, ambiguity about risk management rules, particularly the reasons around their use, forebodingness to the hospital environment and, management from afar, with patients feeling scrutinized from observations without a voice to offer different views. It is hoped these findings will add to the field of patient involvement in psychiatric inpatient settings, proposing attempts to raise understanding and inclusivity of risk management, starting when first admitted to hospital.