Young people's experiences of brief inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa.
About this resource
AIM: To understand the experiences of young people with anorexia admitted to hospital for brief stays and to inform the design of contemporary inpatient treatment to better suit their needs in the context of a significant shift in practice from longer hospital admissions to shorter stays. METHODS: A qualitative study was undertaken with young people within a few months of discharge from a specialist inpatient eating disorder service, Auckland, New Zealand. Audiotaped, semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants within a few months of their discharge from hospital and transcribed for coding. RESULTS: Nine young people, all female, of mixed ethnicity (seven New Zealand European and two Asian) and aged between 15 and 17 years participated in the study. Five main themes were identified from the data, namely: (i) benefits of admission; (ii) sources of stress; (iii) control and power; (iv) having a voice and being heard; and (v) comparison of oneself with others. CONCLUSIONS: Although many of the benefits and challenges associated with brief treatment were similar to those during longer inpatient care, the impact of certain issues was more strongly experienced by participants and highlighted the need for greater attention to be paid to making young people feel better supported and included during predominantly medically focused admissions.
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