The UK eating disorders charity Beat has launched new guidance aimed at supporting people with eating disorders. Evidence shows that people with eating disorders recover faster if their families and loved ones are fully involved and informed around their illness and treatment, and this guidance aims to encourage that.

The guidance is for healthcare providers, and will encourage better support for the families of people with eating disorders, including offering an assessment of their own mental health needs and access to peer-to-peer support programmes.

Beat seeks to address the current lack of family information by calling on all healthcare providers to adopt eight best practice standards, encouraging them to:

  1. Have a policy that ensures optimum involvement of and support for all carers as soon as a loved one starts treatment.
  2. Train all service staff in the application of the policy and these standards with particular focus on the importance of carers as a resource for recovery.
  3. Provide all carers with useful and comprehensive information about eating disorders when their loved one receives a diagnosis.
  4. Offer all carers and siblings an assessment of their own needs when a loved one receives an eating disorder diagnosis, continue to monitor their wellbeing throughout the sufferer’s treatment and, where necessary, refer carers to specialist services.
  5. Offer all carers options for peer-to-peer support.
  6. Offer all carers opportunities to learn the necessary skills to provide optimum support for their loved ones.
  7. Inform and engage carers when a loved one faces a transition between services and ensure that effective communication between both services and carers takes place.
  8. Provide a mechanism by which carers’ input and feedback is sought and acted upon.

You can download the full guidance, and read the press statement on the Beat website. There is also lots of useful information around the different types of eating disorder, the support available for sufferers, and case studies on the website.