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How the FREED programme is helping young adults with eating disorders

Written by: Charlotte Terry - 21st July 2022

In this guest blog, Charlotte Terry, FREED Champion and Eating Disorder Family Practitioner, explains what the FREED programme is and how Yorkshire & Humber AHSN worked with Evolve to facilitate its adoption and implementation.

My name is Charlotte and I am the FREED Champion at Evolve Hull Community Eating Disorder Service.

We have been fortunate to have the support of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN with the rollout of the FREED programme within our service. The FREED programme is so important as it removes barriers of waiting lists for young adults, allowing them to receive early intervention for eating disorders and delivering a pathway tailored to their needs. This is integral for greater and enhanced recovery. Having an eating disorder is challenging in many ways without the pressures of being a young person.

The FREED programme addresses the challenges aside from having an eating disorder a young person may be facing allowing the approach to be holistic and person centred. The programme improves patient care outcomes by allowing them to be assessed at the earliest opportunity, promoting engagement and reversing the changes to the brain such as rigid ways of thinking and difficulties making decisions. The emphasis on change is implemented at the first contact, by the patient receiving psychoeducation.

Before starting treatment, patients receive a call within two days. This has proved vital to alleviate any anxieties about starting therapy and gives them the opportunity to ask any questions. FREED prevents patients’ eating disorder from deteriorating due to the emphasis on engagement, commencing treatment rapidly and building strong relationships based on trust and understanding.

As a result of FREED, we have prevented patients requiring more intense levels of treatment such as day service or specialist admissions. We have seen a positive trend of improved outcome measures at discharge as well as receiving positive feedback on the programme from both patients and families. FREED also promotes shared learning, regular supervision with other FREED services is held which has supported the development and running of the pathway.

Yorkshire & Humber AHSN have been extremely supportive in the development and rollout of the programme. They continued to check in regularly on how Evolve was progressing to go live, they provided us with many resources and organised training for myself and the team. Yorkshire & Humber AHSN chaired and organised a number of meetings and was always there to answer any questions we were unsure of throughout the process.

I feel that they have been an integral part of the building of FREED at Evolve and allowed the service to improve and enhance. I would encourage any service to consider the support from the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and we are grateful for the opportunity they have given our service.