Focus on anorexia and bulimia treatment

Monday's participants
Monday's participants

WITH 59 people presenting to Orange Health Service with eating disorders last financial year, medical professionals have undergone extra training in how to treat the conditions.

Eighty-five doctors, nurses and psychologists, dietitians and allied health workers gathered at the Bloomfield campus on Monday.

Four clinicians from the Peter Beaumont Specialist Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital conducted the training for staff from across the Western NSW Local Health District.

LHD eating disorder co-ordinator Meg Vickery said there had been a 62 per cent increase in the number of eating disorder admissions across hospitals in the 2016-17 financial year, which was mostly due to limited care available at the LHD prior to 2016. 

She said prior to then, most sufferers sought specialised treatment at a 10-bed facility in Sydney or other out-patient services. 

“Eating disorders are potentially fatal illnesses, with one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness,” she said.

Clinicians covered starvation, malnutrition and the brain, managing complex eating disorder behaviour and psychiatric risk, team cohesion, trauma, meal support and weight restoration.  

Mrs Vickery said while most other mental illnesses were treated in a facility, those with eating disorders could come through emergency and require intensive care before the psychological and dietary issues could be dealt with. 

She said stigma was one of the areas covered to ensure patients were comfortable seeking treatment.

“People tend to think it’s a lifestyle choice, not a medical illness, when it is a medical illness,” she said. 

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