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Implementation of family-based treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa.


Although the implementation of new treatment models can be a challenging process for health care services, the outcomes can be greatly beneficial to patients and service providers. This article describes the process of change experienced within our multidisciplinary specialist eating disorder service when we implemented a new evidence-based model of care focusing on outpatient family-based treatment (FBT). Clinical outcomes were positive, including a 56% decrease in admissions, a 75% decrease in readmissions, and a 51% decrease in total bed days. Of families referred to FBT, 83% completed treatment and 97% of completers achieved >90% of their expected body weight. Despite these gains, many challenges were experienced, including misgivings about the suitability of FBT and difficulties in adhering to changes in professional roles. We describe these challenges, describe how they were overcome, and review factors perceived to be critical to the program's success, including integration of medical and mental health services, communication, and training.

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