Background: Carers of people with eating disorders experience high levels of distress due to the difficulties in their care giving role and their perceived lack of resources to help their relative. This paper describes an intervention where some of the skills used by specialist nurses and other staff from an eating disorder intensive care setting are taught to carers to improve their sense of competency and alleviate their distress. The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of “the Maudsley eating disorder collaborative care skills workshops” programme among care givers and whether the difficulties and distress involved in caring for a person with an eating disorder were reduced.
Methods: Thirty-five carers from 30 families were invited to participate in this programme, which consisted of a total of six workshops, delivered in 2-h sessions over 3 months. Assessments were undertaken at baseline (T0), at the end of the workshops (T1) and 3 months later (T2).
Results: The level of carer distress (GHQ) fell significantly after the intervention. The level of general care giving burden (ECI) also reduced as did the specific difficulties caused by eating disorder symptoms (EDSIS). These changes were maintained over time (T2).
Conclusions: The transfer of specialist skills within the programme was highly valued by the carers and lessened their stress and care giving difficulties.