"I feel that my nursing skills are being fully utilised, I am always supported and given the freedom to make changes and improvements as I need."
Ward Manager, The Huntercombe Hospital - Edinburgh
At our specialist eating disorder hospitals, we provide assessment and treatment for adolescents and young adults with severe and life threatening eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related disorders. Our hospitals are located in Edinburgh, Maidenhead and Stafford. We also provide a shorter-stay eating disorder service based in Broadway for patients requiring less intensive treatment to that provided in our other hospitals. Between our four hospitals we are able to offer treatment for eating disorders from the age of 11 upwards.
We take a holistic and evidence-based approach to the treatment of eating disorders, paying particular attention to biological, psychological and social factors. Our patients are admitted on a voluntary basis, or if necessary, under the mental health act.
Other than extreme weight loss, there are many other symptoms exhibited by people suffering with an eating disorder. These might include low self-esteem but high self-disgust, withdrawal and irritability, inability to integrate thoughts and feelings, an excessive preoccupation with food, an impaired sense of taste and an unawareness of their condition.
When exploring the different treatment options available for eating disorders, it is important to determine that the treatment being offered not only tackles the weight restoration but also seeks to treat the underlying neuropsychological factors that caused the eating disorder in the first place.
Beyond working towards regaining a healthy eating pattern and weight, we offer a wide range of treatments, allowing us to tailor therapy to individual need. Depending upon circumstances and need, this might include:
We encourage patients to be partners in their care and to be given the provision of choice. We regard family work as an integral part of each patient's treatment programme, where that individual is living with their family.
There are three main phases of treatment which are as follows:
Our eating disorder service at Huntercombe Hospital, Cotswold Spa, has been specifically designed for patients requiring a shorter inpatient stay. On average our patients are admitted for between six and eight weeks, during which time we provide an extensive treatment programme consisting of weight restoration and/ or maintenance of a healthy weight combined with a therapeutic “talking therapies” programme involving the family in both workshops and practical sessions, such as cooking together and eating as a family. This family involvement enables the young person and their families to continue with the recovery process post discharge.
We admit patients who do not yet require tier four level services and who, with early intervention, stand an excellent chance of recovery therefore reducing their need in the future for other more intensive treatment programmes. On occasions, our hospital in Broadway acts as a step-down eating disorder service to patients nearing the end of their inpatient stay at our sister hospitals in Maidenhead and Stafford, but we also welcome referrers from other tier four providers.
Recovery from severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa generally takes two to three years from the start of treatment. The majority of this time will be spent in outpatient treatment. Initial outpatient treatment can sometimes be provided by our inpatient teams, to ease the transition from the inpatient unit, and in some circumstances this can be continued on a longer term basis. More commonly, subsequent ongoing outpatient treatment is provided by the patient's local child and adolescent mental health service team (CAMHS), adult community mental health team (CMHT), or local eating disorders team.
As an organisation we actively encourage, support and promote high quality research projects that can offer us the opportunity to improve the treatments we offer to our patients. We have contributed funding towards and been participants in the international research project, the Ravello profile, which aims to identify a neuropsychological profile of eating disorders. The results of this particular research are expected in the near future. Details of our other research projects relating to eating disorders can be found in the “research” pages