Eating disorders are complex medical and psychiatric illnesses with significant prevalence in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is estimated that there are at least 7,377 individuals out of a population of 500,000 at risk of having an eating disorder in this province (Statistics Canada, 2002). This is likely an underestimate because people suffering with eating disorders are known to minimize symptoms. A significant number of individuals with eating disorders are treated outside of the St. Johns region (Personal communication, NLCHI, 2004) substantiating the view that the management of eating disorders is a province wide issue for professionals.
In response to the need for education and support for professionals across the province in the area of preventing and intervening in Eating Disorders with clients and families, a community capacity building program was developed. The program includes a two day multimedia workshop developed in partnership with DELT and presented by an interprofessional team with expertise in the physical and psychological aspects of eating disorders. The workshop is supplemented by a binder which includes:
Copies of the slides presented
Supporting documents and measures/tools
Resource materials for professionals for use in practice with clients and families
DVD with Psycho-education program for clients including accompanying manuals
DVD with Psycho-education program for families including accompanying manuals.
In addition the program provides the professionals with either a hard copy of electronic access to a three Resource Manuals (Client, Family, Health Care Professional) which the professional can then pass on to clients or colleagues who need information. The program also provides the professionals with an educational poster which is designed to inform the public about eating disorders and can be used for any situation in which public awareness may be a goal.
The objectives of the EDICCB Project are to:
increase knowledge in areas of prevention and intervention with clients with Eating Disorders and their families
increase confidence in non-expert professionals in various aspects (prevention, identification, intervention, referral, follow up) of the care of individuals with eating disorders and their families
Improve attitudes towards and skills in providing interprofessional practice in caring for eating disorders
Change practice in delivering care to people with eating disorders and their families
Provide and evaluate the education programs developed by experts in the area to clients and families
Increase the interprofessional provision of care.
The program has been piloted in Corner Brook and preliminary analyses reveal positive outcomes. Revisions to the program will be made based on input from the pilot participants and feedback from various partners (Eastern Health, Health Promotion; Eastern School District, Student Services; Canadian Mental Health Association-NL Chapter; Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador).
The program will be implemented and evaluated on all objectives across the province and will use a pre-post design, including both quantitative and qualitative outcome measures.