Our clinical nursing articles aim to inform and educate nurse practitioners and students. This is achieved through the publication of peer-reviewed, evidence-based, relevant and topical articles.
Why you should read this article: • To be aware that the number of children and young people with eating disorders continues to increase • To recognise that early intervention is vital in supporting a child or young person with an eating disorder • To acknowledge that some young people with an eating disorder will refuse treatment or do not seek help According to data collected by NHS England in 2022 1,721 children and young people were awaiting treatment for eating disorders compared with 603 patients in 2016. This reveals an increase of 185% in eating disorders among children and young people and suggests that this increase will continue to occur even with the government pledging £79 million ( GOV UK 2021 ) to expand children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and early intervention services ( NHS England 2022a ). This is due to the already extensive CAMHS waiting list managing the sizeable accumulation of referrals combined with the consistent increase of new referrals. This article outlines the most common types of eating disorders, the importance of the school nurse and factors that have affected the prevalence of eating disorders in young people, highlighting that early intervention and prevention is vital. The authors argue that this can be achieved through increased funding for services such as CAMHS and the First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders service, stricter legislation surrounding social media and greater mental health education in schools for teachers, young people and their families.
Why you should read this article: • To enhance your knowledge of the detrimental effects of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa • To better understand why a young person with an eating disorder might refuse treatment • To find practical advice on how to minimise the distress caused by nasogastric tube feeding under restraint The number of children and young people admitted to children’s wards with an eating disorder has increased significantly since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the most extreme cases, those with severe malnutrition may need to be fed via a nasogastric tube without their consent. Children’s nurses working on hospital wards may therefore care for children and young people who need to receive nasogastric tube feeding under physical restraint. This article offers an overview of eating disorders and their detrimental effects as well as practical advice for children’s nurses, supporting them to provide safe, compassionate and person-centred care to their patients.
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