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Care experiences of young people with eating disorders and their parents: qualitative study

  • Mitrofan, Oana
  • Petkova, Hristina
  • Janssens, Astrid
  • Kelly, Jonathan
  • Edwards, Eve
  • Nicholls, Dasha
  • McNicholas, Fiona
  • Simic, Mima
  • Eisler, Ivan
  • Ford, Tamsin
  • Byford, Sarah
Publication Date
Jan 10, 2019
PubMed Central
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BACKGROUND: Perspectives of young people with eating disorders and their parents on helpful aspects of care should be incorporated into evidence-based practice and service design, but data are limited. AIMS: To explore patient and parent perspectives on positive and negative aspects of care for young people with eating disorders. METHOD: Six online focus groups with 19 young people aged 16–25 years with existing or past eating disorders and 11 parents. RESULTS: Thematic analysis identified three key themes: the need to (a) shift from a weight-focused to a more holistic, individualised and consistent care approach, with a better balance in targeting psychological and physical problems from an early stage; (b) improve professionals' knowledge and attitude towards patients and their families at all levels of care from primary to ‘truly specialist’; (c) enhance peer and family support. CONCLUSIONS: Young people and parents identified an array of limitations in approaches to care for young people with eating disorders and raised the need for change, particularly a move away from a primarily weight-focused treatment and a stronger emphasis on psychological needs and individualised care. DECLARATION OF INTEREST: None.

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