Two year follow up of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial examining the effect of adding a carer’s skill training intervention in inpatients with anorexia nervosa

Nicholas Magill, Charlotte Rhind, Rebecca Hibbs, Elizabeth Goddard, Pamela Macdonald, Jon Arcelus, John Morgan, Jennifer Beecham, Ulrike Schmidt, Sabine Landau, Janet Treasure (2016)

European Eating Disorders Review 24 2 122-130

Available online: 23 December 2015


Background. Active family engagement improves outcomes from adolescent inpatient care, but the impact on adult anorexia nervosa is uncertain.

Aim. The aim of this study was to describe the 2-year outcome following a pragmatic randomised controlled trial in which a skill training intervention (Experienced Caregivers Helping Others) for carers was added to inpatient care.

Method. Patient, caregiver and service outcomes were measured for 2 years following discharge from the index inpatient admission.

Results. There were small-sized/moderate-sized effects and consistent improvements in all outcomes from both patients and carers in the Experienced Caregivers Helping Others group over 2 years. The marked change in body mass index and carers' time caregiving following inpatient care was sustained. Approximately 20% of cases had further periods of inpatient care.

Conclusion. In this predominately adult anorexia nervosa sample, enabling carers to provide active support and management skills may improve the benefits in all symptom domains that gradually follow from a period of inpatient care.