Background: Families express a need for guidance in helping their loved ones with anorexia nervosa (AN). Guided self-help interventions can offer support to caregivers.
Methods: One hundred seventy-eight adult AN patients and their caregivers were recruited from 15 UK treatment centres. Families were randomized to carers' assessment, skills and information sharing (C) intervention + treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU alone. Feedback forms were sent at 6 months post-discharge and, if not returned, at 12 months. One hundred two (57%) patient forms (n = 50TAU; n = 52C) and 115 (65%) caregiver forms (n = 60TAU; n = 55C) were returned. Two researchers coded data blind, using thematic analysis.
Results: (i) Caregivers and patients express a need for post-discharge support. (ii) Patients identify helpful and unhelpful support strategies, useful for developing future interventions. (iii) Patients could identify positive caregiver behaviour changes targeted in intervention. (iv) Guided self-help may benefit caregiver and sufferer, post-discharge.
Conclusion: Caregiver interventions can be a useful tool that will improve the cost effectiveness of inpatient treatment by enhancing the well-being of caregivers and patients. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.