Approach to eating disorder treatment

Eating disorders

Without the right help and support, an eating disorder can have a hugely damaging impact upon your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as your relationships and family life. At Priory, we provide specialist programmes which enable you to receive the most appropriate treatment according to your unique needs. 

By addressing both your physical and mental wellbeing, we aim to re-establish healthy eating habits, which will give you confidence not just in what you eat and where you eat it, but in how you feel about yourself and the world around you.

Our eating disorders stepped-care programme

Our innovative stepped-care programme offers three phases of treatment, and each phase is underpinned by its own evidence-based package of care. Therapy groups and creative workshops are tailored to create the most suitable and effective programme for each person. Stepped-care provides a seamless transition between higher and lower-dependency programmes, which allows the amount of support that you require to be increased or decreased as your treatment plan progresses:

Phase one: High dependency

This intensive treatment programme provides high dependency care, with one-to-one support and supervision for individuals who require safe re-feeding and assisted ongoing feeding. Our compassionate and highly skilled teams provide treatment within the safe and supportive environment of our dedicated high dependency units.

Phase two: Acute

The individual continues to receive ongoing support and supervision on a residential basis, as one-to-one and group therapy continues to play a significant role in their recovery programme. As their physical and mental wellbeing improves, increased responsibility for eating (for example snacks and light meals in the community) and overnight leave are introduced.

Phase three: Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation phase provides a crucial bridge between the dedicated support of residential treatment, and the increased independence of day or outpatient therapy programmes. As the individual learns coping strategies to overcome their eating disorder, therapy sessions and supervision of meal times are gradually decreased. Towards the end of residential treatment, the individual undertakes exercises to re-engage with the community, which will encourage their continued motivation and improved health in the long term. 

The care programme approach (CPA)

The CPA forms the basis of how we deliver care to you. We ensure that you are fully involved in defining the goals and treatment objectives within your care plan, and this provides the opportunity to review your progress throughout your treatment programme. Where possible, we encourage family members or carers to take part in this process, as well as your Priory clinical team and community healthcare professionals.

Specialist care for young people

Many of our hospitals provide dedicated child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for young people aged 12 and above with an eating disorder (the Priory Hospital Chelmsford also accepts children from the age of ten).

Going into hospital can be a daunting time for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for young people and their families or carers. That’s why we offer a safe and homely environment, where we encourage the young person to individualise their private, en-suite bedroom so that it feels familiar and welcoming. We also offer facilities and outdoor areas that are exclusively available for young people to use, and provide a full educational programme from within our hospitals.