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Eating disorders

Outpatient services for children and adolescents

Services delivered by a hospital to a child or adolescent who is not admitted to the hospital as an inpatient

What is it?

Outpatient services involve care provided within a hospital or medical clinic setting that doesn’t require a hospital admission. They often involve attending scheduled appointments or participating in group programs or ‘day programs’.

Outpatient services for children and adolescents are delivered through the Eating Disorders Program (EDP), a specialist multidisciplinary eating disorder service that is part of the broader Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS) service network within Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ).

The EDP supports children and adolescents up to the age of 18 where the primary diagnosis is an eating disorder.

What can someone expect?

Specialist eating disorder outpatient services and programs for children and adolescents are available through the Eating Disorders Program (EDP) which is part of CYMHS CHQ HHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Service Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service).

Outpatient services delivered by EDP will involve and support family members and carers of a child or young person with an eating disorder. The type of support they may receive includes assessment, therapeutic interventions, case management, day programs and onward referral.

Once a referral has been received for your loved one, they’ll be offered a time and date for an assessment appointment that you will be asked to attend with them.

At this appointment, you’ll meet with a member of the assessment team to discuss your loved one’s diagnosis, discuss support options and establish a plan.

Outpatient services often use family-based therapy (FBT), which has a strong focus on family and carer involvement. It involves practical and face-to-face support and advice for you as a carer/family member. Limited phone support may also be provided outside of session times if required.

In addition to providing services to children and young people, EDP can also provide support for caregivers, including emotion-focused skills therapy (EFST) groups and connection to carer consultants who have experience living with a young person with mental health challenges.

Who is this for?

Outpatient services tailored for children and adolescents can provide family-inclusive support and treatment that involves families and carers of children and adolescents with eating disorders aged 18 years or less.

Health professionals that work with families and individuals under 18 years with suspected eating disorders may refer to outpatient services for support.

How can someone access it?

Your loved one will need a referral from their healthcare provider before they can access outpatient services available through EDP.

Referrals into the EDP are accepted from mental health services, private psychiatrists, GPs, paediatricians and other medical specialists. Further information about the EDP is available on the CHQ website. Some of the services offered by EDP are statewide services (e.g. day program, multi-family therapy) and are offered to people with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder who live outside the CHQ catchment area. Please contact EDP to see if your local area can use these services.

As a carer or family member of someone with an eating disorder, you’re welcome to contact the eating disorders team directly. However all children and young people will be redirected to a medical specialist for medical assessment in the first instance as the recommended first response to a suspected eating disorder.

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