Improving mealtimes for patients and staff within an eating disorder unit: the next chapter
Hunt, David Francis
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Gardner L, Tillier K, Marshall-Tyson K, Trueman.H., Hunt D F . Improving mealtimes for patients and staff within an eating disorder unit: the next chapter. BMJ Open Quality 2022;11:e001955.
Objectives Mealtimes are an integral part of treatment for patients in an eating disorder inpatient unit. However, they are often distressing and anxiety provoking for both patients and staff. A consequence of patients’ distress is an increase in eating disorder behaviours specific to mealtimes. This is the second paper detailing a quality improvement project following on from an initial paper outlining the first test of change. The aim of this quality improvement project was to decrease the number of eating disorder behaviours at mealtimes in the dining room through the implementation of interventions identified through diagnostic work. Methods/design The Model for Improvement was used as the systematic approach for this project. Baseline assessment included observations in the dining room, gathering of qualitative feedback from staff and patients and the development of a form which identifies eating disorder behaviours completed by staff. Interventions in the form of three change ideas have so far been introduced including (1) a host role in the dining room, (2) a guide to the dining room for new staff along with competencies and (3) a dining goals group. The impact of the three interventions is assessed. Results The introduction of the interventions has overall reduced the average number of eating disorder behaviours per patient in the dining room by 33%. Conclusions This paper reports the challenges and successes of continuing a QI project through the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for multiple tests of change to improve a complex problem. The results demonstrate a consistent reduction in eating disorder behaviours over a period of nearly 2 years.