Care experiences of young people with eating disorders and their parents: a qualitative study: Spring Meeting for Clinician Scientists in Training 2017

Oana Mitrofan, Tamsin Ford, Sarah Byford, Dasha Nicholls, Hristina Petkova, Jonathan Kelly, Eve Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalPoster abstractpeer-review


Background In the UK, young people with eating disorders have different care pathways—general to highly specialised—depending on geographical location. A clear consensus on the most cost-effective and most valued treatment pathway is currently lacking. This study aimed to identify the most beneficial aspects of care through the perspectives of young people and their parents. We aimed to add depth to a parallel investigation of the cost-effectiveness of UK community-based eating disorder pathways. Methods This qualitative study recruited participants and used online focus groups through Beat (Beating Eating Disorders, a UK National Charity). 19 young women aged 16–25 years with an existing or past eating disorder and 11 parents participated in four and two focus groups, respectively. The sample size was informed by saturation of themes. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. All participants provided written informed consent. The study was approved by the University of Exeter Medical School Research Ethics Committee. Findings Focus group discussions showed that seven features were essential for a good level of care: professionals' knowledge of eating disorders and care pathways, and early provision of psychoeducation to young people and their families; a holistic approach balancing physical and psychological aspects of care from referral and early intervention to recovery and relapse prevention; early, rapid access to services including crisis and out-of-hours support; peer support for young people and support for family members; consistency and continuity, especially around interprofessional communication and transition from child to adult services; long-term view focusing on recovery and lifelong skills to facilitate relapse prevention; and an individually tailored, flexible approach. Interpretation To our knowledge, this is the first exploration through online focus groups of patients' perspectives of UK-based eating disorder pathways. Our findings suggest that no existing pathway is more beneficial; rather, a cluster of features are perceived as essential for a good level of care across services. Although small, our study collated the views of both young people and parents from various geographical locations, and covered a wide range of health-care services. Funding None.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S70
Volume389, Supplement 1
Early online date23 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Care experiences of young people with eating disorders and their parents: a qualitative study: Spring Meeting for Clinician Scientists in Training 2017'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this