“It’s one of the hardest things we do as clinicians”: new online program to equip health professionals with the skills to deliver meal support to individuals with eating disorders

4 Nov, 2020

InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders - a collaboration between the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District - has launched a new online program to provide health professionals in the inpatient setting with the skills needed to deliver meal support in an empathetic, compassionate, and effective way.

Meal Support in the Hospital Setting is suitable for any clinician providing care to an individual with an eating disorder in hospital.

“Meal support is one of the most fundamental aspects of care for people with eating disorders”, according to InsideOut Institute Director and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Sarah Maguire from the University of Sydney.

“Eating is a hugely challenging task for the individual with this illness, always involving stress and anxiety. At the same time, food is the medicine for an eating disorder. Just like all other medicines in a hospital environment, this needs to be delivered reliably, consistently and with great skill,” she said.

“Having a clinician who can compassionately and supportively guide you through learning to eat healthily again can make all the difference.”

Effective meal support and supervision will prevent further deterioration of the individual’s health, and improve adherence to the treatment plan, which can result in shorter hospital admissions.

Meal Support in the Hospital Setting was developed by InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders in response to requests by health professionals seeking to better provide emotional support, encouragement and reassurance to a person with an eating disorder around mealtimes, according to Jo Titterton, Clinical Nurse Consultant, The Eating Disorder Service, Sydney Children’s Hospital.