Resources for Primary
Eating disorders are complex illnesses that can have serious long-term medical and psychological complications. As a primary care provider, your role in the assessment and management of patients with eating disorders is essential.
As a primary care provider, you are likely the first medical professional the patient is approaching about their eating disorder. Those with eating disorders suffer greatly not only as a result of their illness, but also as a result of stigmatization from society and their families
“The unflappable, nonjudgmental health care professional, armed with a plan for recovery, can make a real difference to such patients."
Successfully screening for and diagnosing a patient with an eating disorder is one part of a patient's successful recovery. However, figuring out what to do next can be tricky. In many treatment centres across Canada, wait times can be months or even years, which can have devastating impacts on a patient's health. As a primary care provider, your role in medical monitoring and management of symptoms is essential to the safety and well-being of patients suffering from eating disorders.
Supporting patients on Waiting Lists
When a patient sees their family physician or nurse practitioner and is diagnosed with an eating disorder, the primary care provider is responsible to monitor the patient's care until they are accepted into a treatment program.
In Canada, it can take up to 2 years for a patient to start their treatment for their eating disorder and during that time their health may decline and must be managed. The family physician is usually the person responsible for monitoring them and staying in touch during the time they are waiting for their referral.
While waiting for treatment, the family physician should see the patient monthly, or more often depending on the patient's situation.
Additional Learning Opportunities for Professionals
Recommended Workbooks for Patients (PCP’s can recommend)
The Emotional Eating Workbook: A Proven-Effective, Step-by-Step Guide to End your Battle with Food and Satisfy Your Soul by Carolyn Coker Ross
The Anorexia Recovery Skills Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Cope with Difficult Emotions, Embrace Self-Acceptance, and Prevent Relapse by Catherine L. Ruscitti, Jeffrey E. Barnett, & Rebecca A. Wagner
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia by Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher & Michael Maslar