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Exploring the ways in which COVID-19 and lockdown has affected the lives of adult patients with anorexia nervosa and their carers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

Objective: This qualitative study explores the ways in which the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and associated lockdown measures have affected the lives of adult patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and their carers. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients with AN (n = 21) and carers (n = 28) from the start of UK Government imposed lockdown. Data related directly to the impact of lockdown and COVID-19 were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four broad themes were identified for patients and carers separately. Patients experienced: 1. reduced access to eating disorder (ED) services; 2. disruption to routine and activities in the community; 3. heightened psychological distress and ED symptoms; 4. increased attempts at self-management in recovery. Carer themes included: 1. concern over provision of professional support for patients; 2. increased practical demands placed on carers in lockdown; 3. managing new challenges around patient wellbeing; 4. new opportunities. Conclusions: Reduced access to ED services, loss of routine and heightened anxieties and ED symptoms resulting from COVID-19 and lockdown measures presented challenges for patients and carers. Increased remote support by ED services enabled the continuation of treatment and self-management resources and strategies promoted self-efficacy in both groups.

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