Assessing the impact of First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders on duration of untreated eating disorder: A multi-centre quasi-experimental study

Michaela Flynn, Amelia Austin, Katie Lang, Karina Allen, Ranjeet Bassi, Gabrielle Brady, Amy Brown, Frances Connan, Mary Franklin-Smith, Danielle Glennon, Nina Grant, William Rhys Jones, Kuda Kali, Antonia Koskina, Kate Mahony, Victoria Mountford, Nicole Nunes, Monique Schelhase, Lucy Serpell, Ulrike Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Duration of untreated eating disorder (DUED), that is, the time between illness onset and start of first evidence-based treatment, is a key outcome for early intervention. Internationally, reported DUED ranges from 2.5 to 6 years for different eating disorders (EDs). To shorten DUED, we developed FREED (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for EDs), a service model and care pathway for emerging adults with EDs. Here, we assess the impact of FREED on DUED in a multi-centre study using a quasi-experimental design. Methods: Two hundred and seventy-eight patients aged 16–25, with first episode illness of less than 3 years duration, were recruited from specialist ED services and offered treatment via FREED. These were compared to 224 patients, of similar age and illness duration, seen previously in participating services (treatment as usual [TAU]) on DUED, waiting times and treatment uptake. Results: FREED patients had significantly shorter DUED and waiting times than TAU patients. On average, DUED was reduced by ∼4 months when systemic delays were minimal. Furthermore, 97.8% of FREED patients took up treatment, versus 75.4% of TAU. Discussion: Findings indicate that FREED significantly improves access to treatment for emerging adults with first episode ED. FREED may reduce distress, prevent deterioration and facilitate recovery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Early online date28 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • anorexia nervosa
  • binge eating disorder
  • bulimia nervosa
  • duration of untreated illness
  • early intervention
  • eating disorders
  • FREED

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