Conference Programme Find out more

A sustainable approach to improving mealtimes for patients and staff within an eating disorder unit during COVID-19

Mealtimes form a core part of inpatient treatment for eating disorders. Historically the unit’s dining room has been an area identified as difficult for staff and patients, causing distress and anxiety. Patients typically exhibit high eating disordered (ED) behaviours exhibited at mealtimes, which are maintaining factors for eating disorders.

This quality improvement (QI) project launched in February 2020, with an aim to reduce ED behaviours in the dining room.

Throughout the pandemic, we introduced three key interventions that reduced observed ED behaviours. These included a new role to help with identified distractors, introducing an induction pack and a patient goal setting group.

Alongside the project success, we gained valuable insight into staff and patient engagement that played a fundamental role in sustaining these interventions.

Our presentation will draw on the learning from this project. We will break our workshop into three sections:

NB: No formal ethics approval was required as this was a QI project.

Lucy Gardner & Dr David Francis Hunt

Lucy Gardner is the Professional Lead for Dietetics in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Lucy has a broad range of experience within Dietetics but has been specialising for the last 12 years within Mental Health. She is passionate about ensuring evidence based practice, and enabling Allied Health Professionals to make a difference, creating new evidence and improving outcomes.

Dr David F Hunt is the Research Lead at Oxford Healthcare Improvement Centre and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. His research centres on improvement and implementation science in mental health services, exploring approaches to achieve sustained change and integration into practice. His current subject-specific interests include psychological safety, trauma-informed practice, and initiatives for reducing suicide in inpatient settings