Capability and Competence to identify and respond to eating disorders

Ms Hilary Smith1, Ms Eliza Charlett

1National Eating Disorders Collaboration, Glen Iris, Australia

Abstract:

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration has developed a competency framework for safe and effective identification and response to eating disorders. This trans-disciplinary tool articulates the skills and knowledge requirements for practitioners at any point in the eating disorders continuum of care, from first responder through to inpatient services and recovery support.
This presentation will outline the competency framework with specific reference to the rural and remote allied health workforce and the unique needs of their clients. This will include exploration of the different roles that practitioners may be required to play within a multi-disciplinary team. Tools to support practice and avenues for further professional development and support will be discussed.
Eating disorders are serious, complex, diverse and treatable mental illnesses which affect 1 million Australians, from urban centres to the most remote parts of the country. In regional and remote Australia, people with eating disorders and their families can struggle to access services with the right level of capability in eating disorder management. This is not limited to acute settings.
Early identification and intervention in cases of suspected eating disorders can save lives. Despite this, the average wait between onset of illness and first attempt to seek help for an eating disorder is 7 to 10 years. Delayed help seeking can lead to significant and lasting mental and physical health complications. Improved skills across the health workforce in recognising warning signs and intervening at the earliest opportunity is a critical current workforce development need.


Biography:

Eliza Charlett is the Manager of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), and has extensive experience in building the capacity of professional networks and communities to identify and respond to eating disorders.

Hilary Smith is the NEDC Workforce Development Coordinator. Her role is focused on introducing specific competencies for safe and effective responses to eating disorders in health and other workforces across the country.