A review of the clinical efficacy of an inpatient eating disorders programme

Meddows-Taylor, Jessica Clair
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Eating disorders remain the psychiatric disorders with some of the highest morbidity and mortality rates. Inpatient treatment of patients with eating disorders focusses on addressing both the medical complications of being underweight, as well as the psychopathology that drives the illness. This research study is a review of the demographic and clinical data of 57 patients admitted to the eating disorders unit at Tara hospital in Johannesburg over a 30-month period. Demographic as well as clinical data and the physical, psychosocial and psychological improvement was assessed over the period of admission. Associations between certain demographic and clinical features with psychological benefit were ascertained. The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), and Clinical Impairment Assessment (CIA) values reported on admission and discharge as well as changes between these values were utilised to demonstrate this. Findings of the demographic data were in keeping with the international findings of a predominant female, urban westernized cultured majority, with a split between adolescent (28%) and adult patients (72%). Overall, there was an improvement in the EDE-Q (p<0.01), the individual subgroups within the EDE-Q (p<0.001), and the CIA (p<0.001). Specific demographic factors which were associated with better responses were: youth, being single and shorter duration of eating disorder course with lack of co-morbid psychopathology. The programme utilised at the Tara Hospital Eating Disorder’s Unit shows benefit with improvement of eating disorder psychopathology and subsequent psychosocial impairment. Younger patients noted a significant benefit in comparison to older individuals
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in fulfilment for the requirements of the degree of Master of Medicine (Psychiatry), 2021