Reflections on eating disorders experiences in Ireland

McNamara, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-3123-3678, Potter, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-4462-212X, Wakefield, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-9683, Daly, R., Marriott, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7743-5262, Rennoldson, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7131-8740, Rice, A. and McDonald, S., 2021. Reflections on eating disorders experiences in Ireland. Dublin: Bodywhys.

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Living with an eating disorder is a significant challenge facing many Irish people. Previous research revealed that services in Ireland were under-developed, under resourced, and ill-equipped to provide the necessary care for people with eating disorders (PWED) and their families. The National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders (NCP-ED) was established to address these service gaps and published its model of care in 2018.

A key element in the planning and provision of care for PWED is to understand the factors which contribute to positive (and negative) service user experiences, and the satisfaction factors for those who access the services. The current research, commissioned by Bodywhys, supported by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) and conducted by Nottingham Trent University, was designed to establish a picture of service user experiences prior to the full implementation of the NCP-ED and to identify strengths in healthcare provision as well as areas for development. It is hoped that the findings detailed in this report will prove to be a valuable learning resource for all those involved in delivering care and support to PWED and their families.

This research employed a mixed-methods design comprising interviews and online surveys with carers and people who were receiving (or had recently received) treatment and/or support for an eating disorder. 46 people (21 carers and 25 PWED) participated in interviews and 164 people (82 carers and 82 PWED) completed online surveys. Participants reported a diverse range of eating disorder diagnoses and accessed services across Ireland (with a small number travelling to the UK for treatment in addition to receiving care in Ireland).

Our key findings are grouped into three main areas of enquiry in this report: (1) PWED and carer service user experiences, (2) PWED and carer psychosocial health and well-being, and (3) PWED and carers’ day-to-day experiences of living with an eating disorder.

We hope these findings will help to inform future service developments. We recommend, following wider implementation of the NCP-ED, that a follow-up to this research is conducted to ascertain any changes to the service user experiences and outcomes for PWED and their carers.

Item Type: Research report for external body
Creators: McNamara, N., Potter, A., Wakefield, J., Daly, R., Marriott, M., Rennoldson, M., Rice, A. and McDonald, S.
Publisher: Bodywhys
Place of Publication: Dublin
Date: 2021
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Sep 2022 13:26
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2022 13:26

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