User satisfaction with services in a randomised controlled trial of adolescent anorexia nervosa

Peter Roots, Laura Rowlands, Simon G Gowers
European Eating Disorders Review: the Journal of the Eating Disorders Association 2009, 17 (5): 331-7

BACKGROUND: User satisfaction is a neglected outcome in adolescent anorexia nervosa especially since the relative effectiveness of different treatments is unclear. It may also affect clinical outcome.

AIMS: To assess young person's and parents' satisfaction with CAMHS outpatient, specialist outpatient and inpatient treatment received in a large randomised controlled trial.

METHOD: Quantitative and qualitative analysis of questionnaire data from 215 young people and their parents followed by focus groups to further explore emerging themes.

RESULTS: High levels of satisfaction were reported, more amongst parents than young people and with specialist services. Both young people and carers strongly valued clinical relationships that involved being listened to and understood. They valued the expertise of specialist rather than generic CAMHS services. There were polarised views on the influence of other young people in inpatient units. Parents in particular valued support for themselves, both from professionals and other parents and felt this, and sibling support was lacking.

CONCLUSIONS: All comprehensive CAMH services are able to provide the good generic psychotherapeutic skills that parents and young people value so highly. However, generic CAMHS struggle to provide the demanded level of expertise and more specialised individual and family therapeutic interventions.

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