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Evaluation of a Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Referral Pathway in the context of COVID-19

The purpose of this audit was to review the referrals made to a CAMHS Eating Disorder service over the last two years using routine collected data, to establish the profile of referrals made to the service, how COVID-19 has impacted referrals and subsequent service demand and whether the introduction of a post-assessment nursing clinic has had a positive impact on outcome.

It was found that the majority of referrals made to the service experience a range of eating related difficulties as well as a number of co morbid mental health difficulties. Analysis of demographic factors illustrate an increase in numbers and severity of referrals since the beginning of COVID-19. Despite this, it appears that the service has responded positively with reduced assessment waiting times In line with service guidelines for both urgent and routine referrals.

Finally, the nursing clinic service has shown initial signs of being an effective treatment option in terms of positive weight gain as well as enhancing service treatment completion and reducing requirements for future input. Implications of the current study are considered in relation to service recommendations, including dedicated administrative time for data collection, increased resource for assessment and nursing clinic input as well as inclusion of symptom-specific outcome measures for greater examination of treatment effectiveness.

Laura Weir

I am a HCPC registered dietitian with over 10 years clinical experience. I first started working in children's Mental Health in 2013 with Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS foundation trust where a new dedicated dietetic team for Mental Health Services was being established across the region. Through this post, I was able to undertake masters level modules in Eating Disorders with Leeds Beckett University.

In 2016, I returned to Scotland to undertake a Lead Dietitian post with the CAMHS service for NHS Tayside. I provide clinical dietetic input for all children and young people open to the CAMHS service in Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross as well as a coordinating the CAMHS Eating Disorder Service. I am currently undertaking my EEATs accreditation to further my knowledge and skills in the field of child and adolescent Eating Disorders.