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Transl Behav Med ; 2022 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2255738


Family-Based Treatment (FBT)-the most widely supported treatment for pediatric eating disorders-transitioned to virtual delivery in many programs due to COVID-19. Using a blended implementation approach, we systematically examined therapist adherence to key components of FBT and fidelity to FBT by videoconferencing (FBT-V), preliminary patient outcomes, and team experiences with our FBT-V implementation approach as well as familial perceptions of FBT-V effectiveness. We examined our implementation approach across four pediatric eating disorder programs in Ontario, Canada, using mixed methods. Participants included therapists (n = 8), medical practitioners (n = 4), administrators (n = 6), and families (n = 5; 21 family members in total). We developed implementation teams at each site, provided FBT-V training, and offered clinical and implementation consultation. Therapists submitted video recordings of their first four FBT-V sessions for fidelity rating, and patient outcomes. Therapists self-reported readiness, attitudes, confidence, and adherence to FBT-V. Focus groups were conducted with each team and family after the first four sessions of FBT-V. Quantitative data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. Qualitative data were analyzed using directed and summative content analysis. Therapists adhered to key FBT components and maintained FBT-V fidelity. Changes in therapists' readiness, attitudes, and confidence in FBT-V over time were not significant. All patients gained weight. Focus groups revealed implementation facilitators/barriers, positives/negatives surrounding FBT-V training and consultation, suggestions for improvement, and effectiveness attributed to FBT-V. Our implementation approach appeared to be feasible and acceptable. Future research with a larger sample is required, furthering our understanding of this approach and exploring how organizational factors influence treatment fidelity.

We qualitatively and quantitatively examined the initial implementation (the first four sessions) of Family-Based Treatment (FBT) delivered by videoconferencing (FBT-V) during the COVID-19 pandemic using an evidence-based implementation approach. This included developing implementation teams (consisting of a lead therapist, medical practitioner, and program administrator) at each site, providing FBT-V training to all participants, and offering clinical consultation to all participating therapists and implementation consultation to implementation teams. Therapists were required to submit video recordings of their first four FBT-V sessions. Therapist adherence to key components of FBT as well as fidelity to the FBT-V model, team and family experiences with FBT-V, and preliminary patient outcomes (e.g., weight gain) were examined. Our findings suggest that our implementation approach was feasible and acceptable; therapists adhered to key FBT components and maintained FBT-V fidelity, patients gained weight, and teams and families expressed satisfaction with our intervention. Further research is needed with a larger sample and for a longer duration.

Int J Eat Disord ; 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2229110


OBJECTIVE: Waitlists for eating disorder (ED) services grew immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this, we studied the feasibility of a novel parental self-help waitlist intervention. METHOD: Parents of a child/adolescent (7-17 years) awaiting pediatric ED services were provided with our intervention, adapted from the family-based treatment model, and consisting of videos and reading material with no therapist involvement. Parent-reported child/adolescent weight was collected weekly 6 weeks pre-intervention, 2 weeks during the intervention, and 6-week post-intervention. Recruitment and retention rates were calculated. Regression-based interrupted time series analyses were completed to measure changes in the rate of weight gain. RESULTS: Ninety-seven parents were approached, and 30 agreed to participate (31% recruitment rate). All but one completed end-of-study measures (97% retention rate). The average rate of weight gain was 0.24 lbs/week pre-intervention, which increased significantly to 0.78 lbs/week post-intervention (p < .034). DISCUSSION: Our findings provide preliminary evidence that this intervention is feasible. Future research is needed to confirm the efficacy of this intervention on a larger scale. PUBLIC SIGNIFICANCE: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in several challenges in providing care for children and adolescents with eating disorders, including long waiting lists and delays in treatment. This study suggests that providing parents on a waitlist with educational videos and reading material is acceptable to parents, and may even help in improving the child's symptoms of an eating disorder.

J Eat Disord ; 10(1): 195, 2022 Dec 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2196473


BACKGROUND: The treatment for children with eating disorders (EDs) requires extensive involvement of parents. The parents of children with EDs have voiced a need for greater support, including connecting with other parents with lived experience of caring for a child with an ED. We aimed to qualitatively explore parental experiences of these groups, including their benefits and areas for improvement. METHODS: This study examined the delivery of four virtual parent-led peer support groups in Ontario, Canada for parents of children with EDs with approximately 10 parent participants per group and two parent facilitators leading each group. Parents (n = 44) were asked to attend 12 bi-weekly support group sessions over 6 months, and then complete an individual end-of-study qualitative interview. Interview data were analyzed using content analysis, following the qualitative description design. RESULTS: Thirty-six parents completed the end-of-study qualitative interview. Participants shared their experiences and impressions related to the group's structure and content. Notable helpful aspects of the group included being able to receive support from those with similar experiences, access to education and resources about EDs, and being able to support others. Suggestions for improvements were made, which included organizing groups according to the child's ED diagnosis or duration of illness. CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that this intervention is acceptable to parents and is perceived as helpful. Future research is needed to strengthen this support group model and to study its effects for parents in different settings and for parents of children with various EDs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04686864.

The treatment of children who have eating disorders (EDs) requires extensive involvement from parents. Parents have voiced a need for greater support, and one way to meet this need is through peer support. Using end-of-study interviews, this study qualitatively described the experiences of parents of children who have EDs who participated in virtual parent-led peer support groups (vPLPSGs) for 6 months. Our findings suggest that vPLPSGs are beneficial for parents of children who have EDs. Participants had positive perceptions of the group organization and structure, the parent facilitators, and other parent attendees, and valued the support and educational resources received in the group. Parents noted it was particularly helpful to be able to speak with other parents who understood their experiences, which helped them feel less alone in their difficulties with their child. Parents also noted an improvement in their relationship with their child who has an ED, and believed that these groups should be readily available and accessible. Suggestions for improvement included dividing groups based on children's ED diagnosis, duration of illness, and geographical location. Further expansion and study of these groups is warranted, as they appear to be a valuable support for families affected by EDs.

J Eat Disord ; 10(1): 94, 2022 Jul 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1974169


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a necessity for eating disorder (ED) outpatient treatment to be delivered virtually. Given this transition, and the surge in new ED cases, there was an urgent need to investigate virtually delivered ED prevention programs. This review aimed to identify the available evidence on virtual ED prevention programs for children, adolescents, and emerging adults. METHOD: Using scoping review methodology, seven databases were searched for studies published from January 2000 to April 2021 reporting on virtually delivered ED prevention interventions for children and adolescents (< 18 years) and emerging adults (18-25 years). Studies were excluded if they contained adults (> 25 years) and individuals with clinical ED diagnoses. Abstracts and full-text papers were reviewed independently by two reviewers. Data was extracted on study type, methodology, age, sample size, virtual intervention, outcomes, and results. In April 2022, we used a forward citation chaining process to identify any relevant articles from April 2021 to April 2022. RESULTS: Of 5129 unique studies identified, 67 met eligibility criteria, which included asynchronous (n = 35) and synchronous (n = 18) internet-based programs, other e-technology including mobile apps (n = 3) and text messaging interventions (n = 1), computer-based programs (n = 6), and online caregiver interventions focused on child outcomes (n = 4). Few studies mainly included children and adolescents (n = 18), whereas the vast majority included emerging adults (n = 49). For children and adolescents, the most widely researched programs were Student Bodies and its adapted versions (n = 4), eBody Project (n = 2), and Parents Act Now (n = 2). For emerging adults, the most widely researched programs were Student Bodies and its adapted versions (n = 16), eBody Project (n = 6) and Expand Your Horizon (n = 4). These interventions were effective at reducing various symptoms and ED risk. Some studies demonstrated that virtual prevention intervention efficacy resembled in-person delivery. CONCLUSION: Virtual prevention interventions for EDs can be effective, however more research is needed studying their impact on children and adolescents and on improving access for vulnerable groups. Additional efficacy studies are required, such as for text messaging and mobile app ED prevention interventions. Evidence-based recommendations for virtual ED prevention for children, adolescents, and emerging adults at-risk for EDs should be prioritized.

This review aimed to identify all available evidence for virtual eating disorder (ED) prevention interventions for children/adolescents (<18 years) and emerging adults (18-25 years). We reviewed seven databases and found 67 studies for inclusion. Findings were summarized into themes: asynchronous (not in real-time) and synchronous (in real-time) internet-based programs, other e-technology (mobile applications ['apps'], text messages), computer-based programs, and online caregiver interventions focused on child outcomes. Among children and adolescents, the most widely researched programs were Student Bodies (asynchronous internet-based cognitive-behavioural program), eBody Project (synchronous internet-based cognitive-dissonance program), and Parents Act Now, (online caregiver intervention). Among emerging adults, the most widely researched programs were Student Bodies (described above), eBody Project (described above) and Expand Your Horizon (asynchronous internet-based body functionality program). These interventions were effective at reducing symptoms and/or risk of developing EDs. Additional research is needed, including a greater focus on children and adolescents, and text messaging, mobile apps, online cognitive restructuring, and online imagery rescripting ED prevention interventions. Evidence-based recommendations for virtual ED prevention interventions that have been reviewed by a panel and research on improving access to virtual ED prevention services for vulnerable groups should also be prioritized.

J Eat Disord ; 10(1): 111, 2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962901


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, outpatient eating disorder care, including Family-Based Treatment (FBT), rapidly transitioned from in-person to virtual delivery in many programs. This paper reports on the experiences of teams and families with FBT delivered by videoconferencing (FBT-V) who were part of a larger implementation study. METHODS: Four pediatric eating disorder programs in Ontario, Canada, including their therapists (n = 8), medical practitioners (n = 4), administrators (n = 6), and families (n = 5), participated in our study. We provided FBT-V training and delivered clinical consultation. Therapists recorded and submitted their first four FBT-V sessions. Focus groups were conducted with teams and families at each site after the first four FBT-V sessions. Focus group transcripts were transcribed verbatim and key concepts were identified through line-by-line reading and categorizing of the text. All transcripts were double-coded. Focus group data were analyzed using directed and summative qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: Analysis of focus group data from teams and families revealed four overarching categories-pros of FBT-V, cons of FBT-V, FBT-V process, and suggestions for enhancing and improving FBT-V. Pros included being able to treat more patients and developing a better understanding of family dynamics by being virtually invited into the family's home (identified by teams), as well as convenience and comfort (identified by families). Both teams and families recognized technical difficulties as a potential con of FBT-V, yet teams also commented on distractions in family homes as a con, while families expressed difficulties in developing therapeutic rapport. Regarding FBT-V process, teams and families discussed the importance and challenge of patient weighing at home. In terms of suggestions for improvement, teams proposed assessing a family's suitability or motivation for FBT-V to ensure it would be appropriate, while families strongly suggested implementing hybrid models of FBT in the future which would include some in-person and some virtual sessions. CONCLUSION: Team and family perceptions of FBT-V were generally positive, indicating acceptability and feasibility of this treatment. Suggestions for improved FBT-V practices were made by both groups, and require future investigation, such as examining hybrid models of FBT that involve in-person and virtual elements. Trial registration NCT04678843 .

J Eat Disord ; 10(1): 21, 2022 Feb 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686035


BACKGROUND: Although early intervention is crucial in interrupting the development of eating disorders, little is currently known about help-seeking behaviours among individuals experiencing eating disorder symptoms. Given that eating disorders typically begin early in life, it is necessary to investigate the processes employed by children, adolescents, and emerging adults when seeking services for troubling symptoms. This is a growing concern as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the number of individuals engaging in disordered eating behaviours. This scoping review explores the current state of the literature for evidence on how youth with eating disorder symptoms seek help, with the aim of better understanding how to identify and treat more individuals earlier. METHODS: Using scoping review methodology, we searched seven databases for studies published from January 2000 to April 2021 that reported on help-seeking attitudes, behaviours, and healthcare utilization patterns for children and adolescents (< 18 years), emerging adults (18-25 years), and a mixture of these groups (< 25 years). Seven thousand, two hundred, and eighteen articles were identified for review. After duplicates were removed, three reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and reviewed full-text articles. Findings related to help-seeking activity were extracted from the 62 articles that were ultimately included in this scoping review. RESULTS: Study findings were summarized into help-seeking patterns (i.e., rates, types) as well as factors ranging from the individual level to society that influenced help-seeking behaviour. Many youth meeting eating disorder criteria were not seeking help. Notable barriers to help-seeking included poor mental health literacy, experiences with healthcare providers who failed to detect and lacked knowledge about eating disorders, minimal support from family and friends, and stigma surrounding eating disorders and help-seeking for mental health concerns. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this scoping review can be used to inform early intervention and health promotion program development. Future research should focus on the help-seeking attitudes and activities among underrepresented groups with eating disorders (e.g., men, ethnic and gender minorities), the perspectives of family and other supporters in the help-seeking process for youth, and retrospective accounts from adults with lived experience of an eating disorder. Plain English summary Addressing and interrupting eating disorder-related thoughts and behaviours as soon as possible, with the help of a mental health professional, leads to better outcomes for youth struggling with an eating disorder. However, little is known about what prompts youth to talk about their weight, body, or eating concerns with someone-like their parent, friend, teacher, guidance counsellor, or primary care practitioner. This review explores the available published research on help-seeking patterns and preferences among youth with eating disorder concerns. Our team followed a standardized process to find 62 relevant articles for this paper. Of note, many young people who reported eating disorder concerns were not seeking help for themselves. Feeling supported by family and their primary care provider, understanding the signs of an eating disorder, and not feeling shame for reaching out for help reportedly led youth to speak up about their concerns. The findings have clinical implications for learning effective ways to help youth feel safe to speak freely about their eating disorder-related concerns, which enhances the chances of intervening early and catching symptoms before they worsen.

J Eat Disord ; 9(1): 46, 2021 Apr 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1190107


OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on mental health. Literature on the impact on individuals with eating disorders is slowly emerging. While outpatient eating disorder services in Canada have attempted to transition to virtual care, guidelines related to optimal virtual care in this field are lacking. As such, the objective of our Canadian Consensus Panel was to develop clinical practice guidelines related to the provision of virtual care for children, adolescents, and emerging adults living with an eating disorder, as well as their caregivers, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. METHODS: Using scoping review methodology (with literature in databases from 2000 to 2020 and grey literature from 2010 to 2020), the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation system, the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation tool, and a panel of diverse stakeholders from across Canada, we developed high quality treatment guidelines that are focused on virtual interventions for children, adolescents, and emerging adults with eating disorders, and their caregivers. RESULTS: Strong recommendations were supported specifically in favour of in-person medical evaluation when necessary for children, adolescents, and emerging adults, and that equity-seeking groups and marginalized youth should be provided equal access to treatment. For children and adolescents, weak recommendations were supported for telehealth family-based treatment (FBT) and online guided parental self-help FBT. For emerging adults, internet cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)-based guided self-help was strongly recommended. Weak recommendations for emerging adults included CBT-based group internet interventions as treatment adjuncts, internet-based relapse prevention Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) guided self-help, telehealth relapse prevention using MANTRA, and guided CBT-based smartphone apps as treatment adjuncts. For caregivers of children and adolescents, weak recommendations were supported for virtual parent meal support training, and moderated online caregiver forums and support groups. For caregivers of emerging adults, guided parental self-help CBT was strongly recommended, and unguided caregiver psychoeducation self-help was weakly recommended. CONCLUSIONS: Several gaps for future work were identified including the impact of sex, gender, race, and socioeconomic status on virtual care among children, adolescents, and emerging adults with eating disorders, as well as research on more intensive services, such as virtual day hospitals.

Implement Sci Commun ; 2(1): 38, 2021 Apr 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175353


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted individuals with eating disorders; resulting in increased symptoms, as well as feelings of isolation and anxiety. To conform with social distancing requirements, outpatient eating disorder treatment in Canada is being delivered virtually, but a lack of direction surrounding this change creates challenges for practitioners, patients, and families. As a result, there is an urgent need to not only adapt evidence-based care, including family-based treatment (FBT), to virtual formats, but to study its implementation in eating disorder programs. We propose to study the initial adaptation and adoption of virtual family-based treatment (vFBT) with the ultimate goal of improving access to services for youth with eating disorders. METHODS: We will use a multi-site case study with a mixed method pre/post design to examine the impact of our implementation approach across four pediatric eating disorder programs. We will develop implementation teams at each site (consisting of therapists, medical practitioners, and program administrators), provide a remote training workshop on vFBT, and offer ongoing consultation during the initial implementation phase. Therapists will submit videorecordings of their first four vFBT sessions. We propose to study our implementation approach by examining (1) whether the key components of standard FBT are maintained in virtual delivery measured by therapist self-report, (2) fidelity to our vFBT model measured by expert fidelity rating of submitted videorecordings of the first four sessions of vFBT, (3) team and patient/family experiences with vFBT assessed with qualitative interviews, and (4) patient outcomes measured by weight and binge/purge frequency reported by therapists. DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate an implementation strategy for virtually delivered FBT for eating disorders. Challenges to date include confirming site participation and obtaining ethics approval at all locations. This research is imperative to inform the delivery of vFBT in the COVID-19 context. It also has implications for delivery in a post-pandemic era where virtual services may be preferable to patients and families living in remote locations, where access to specialized services is extremely limited. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04678843 , registered on December 21, 2020.