Enabling young people with anorexia to spend as little time in hospital as possible has been proven to speed up their recovery.
That’s the verdict of Dr Mark Berelowtiz, clinical lead for child and adolescent mental health services at the Royal Free Hospital. Dr Berelowitz describes the hospital’s approach to TV presenter Mark Austin in a film made for a Channel 4 documentary about anorexia.
The former ITV News anchor was keen to explore the variation in care for anorexics across the country and wanted to find out more about how the Royal Free Hospital helps young people continue with their lives at home rather than living in hospital while receiving treatment.
... we want to ensure our patients’ day to day lives are kept as normal as possible and they sleep in their own beds at night.
Mark’s desire to find out more about the issue was as a result of his first-hand experience of being a father with an anorexic daughter.
Maddy’s anorexia battle began around the age of 15 in 2009. By December 2012, after turning 18, her weight was just 5 stone 7lbs and she was diagnosed with an eating disorder. Maddy received intensive day treatment at an eating disorder unit at Farnham Hospital and eventually regained weight and has made a full recovery.
Dr Berelowitz said: “Mark wanted to hear about the work we are doing with patients and what makes our service so special. He was especially interested in hearing about how we no longer have beds in our unit as our focus is about keeping young people with their families and as far as possible engaged in a normal life.
“Yes, they may need to come to us for as many hours as they need, and this is part of our so-called ‘intensive service’ but we want to ensure our patients’ day to day lives are kept as normal as possible and they sleep in their own beds at night. Our approach is proven to work and we’d like to see it replicated across the NHS.
“Our goal is to keep young people in adolescent life, not anorexia world.”