Background

Home / Background

Summary

  • With input from women, healthcare professionals and key organisations, researchers at King’s College London have co-designed a set of training resources for healthcare professionals that incorporate the latest evidence and clinical guidance, and the perspectives of women with lived experience.
  • The training uses creative and innovative means of disseminating evidence-based guidance to healthcare professionals with the potential for national wide reach.
  • The training aims to raise awareness that eating disorders are serious mental illness that can impact on pregnancy, and gives prominence to the professional therapeutic relationship that can develop between the woman and her healthcare professional, with practical recommendations for good practice in accordance with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance.

Nature of the problem

Eating disorders are a group of serious mental illnesses characterised by severely disturbed eating behaviours that significantly impact on health and psychosocial functioning. Becoming pregnant can be a very difficult time for some women with eating disorders as they experience changes in weight and shape, and eating disorders increase the risk of complications and adverse child development outcomes.

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, NG69) has specific recommendations for enhanced monitoring and support for women with eating disorders before, during and after pregnancy. However, training on eating disorders is not part of mandatory training for many healthcare professionals so professionals may lack the knowledge and understanding needed to effectively implement the guidance in to practice.

 

Research project

Dr Abigail Easter, King’s Improvement Science Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, is leading a project funded by The Health Foundation under the Evidence into Practice scheme – RECREATE: Recognition and response to eating disorders in the perinatal period. The aim of the project is to translate research findings into creative co-designed educational and awareness raising resources on eating disorders, for healthcare professionals working with women during pregnancy and motherhood.

 

Co-design approach

With input from women, healthcare professionals and key organisations, the researchers have co-designed training resources for healthcare professionals that incorporate the latest evidence and clinical guidance, and the perspectives of women with lived experience. The Stakeholder Advisory Group, which is a group of key stakeholder representatives, provided expert input at various stages in the project. A series of co-design workshops and interviews with women and healthcare professionals informed the development of the animation and tested the resources. The animation film has been produced by award-winning animators from CreativeConnection and Woven Ink.

 

Engagement and Impact

The training resources will launch during Eating Disorders Awareness Week in 2018. The resources will be available online from Monday 26th February and will be presented at a training event with guest speakers on Wednesday 28th February. The acceptability of the animated training film will be evaluated via an online survey as part of ongoing research in to the acceptability of the training.