Four speakers from Newbridge House will deliver presentations at a prestigious international eating disorders conference this week.

The 14th London Eating Disorders Conference is taking place from March 20 to 22 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, featuring speakers from all over the world. The theme for this year’s conference is: putting patient and carer perspectives at the heart of everything we do.

Sessions presented by specialists from Newbridge House will showcase not only the work of the clinic, but the active, rigorous research programme to measure the effectiveness of all interventions.

Hospital Manager Rachel Matthews will present a session on the Newbridge Prognosis Score: evaluating the effectiveness of a prognosis tool based on patient and family progress. This innovative work investigates what factors assessed at admission may be used to predict likely outcomes from treatment on an individual basis.

Senior Occupational Therapist Janet Tighe will present a session on social eating and preparation and research to evaluate how effective and helpful this support is. Using a graded approach, young people begin by preparing simple meals, then progress to main meals (according to age and ability). Social eating is also supported, initially by having lunch outside the unit in a café, then may include going to a restaurant for an evening meal.

The effectiveness of this approach has now been fully audited using an Eating and Meal Preparation Skills Assessment (EMPSA) tool.

Additionally, Newbridge has recently completed a Random Controlled Trial (RCT) evaluating a manualised body image therapy: practical body image with mirror exposure which was originally developed at our unit.

The treatment uses cognitive behavioural techniques, including practical tasks and experiments, to challenge body dissatisfaction and increase acceptance of a healthy weight. Early results from the development phase showed a significant decrease in social avoidance and significant improvement in self-esteem. Full evaluation from the RCT will be presented to conference by Assistant Psychologist Hannah Biney.

Professor Hubert Lacey, Head of Research for Newbridge and Schoen Clinic UK (mental health) will lead an invited workshop session on severe and enduring anorexia.

There are also posters: self-esteem group (psychology) and relaxation group (occupational therapy).

Professor Lacey said: “Bringing three papers from a single unit to a conference of this standing is a very significant achievement. It showcases what we do and equally, the work we do to measure everything.

“This is a core principle at Newbridge: we develop and innovate and then we carefully evaluate, so we understand what works and we have an evidence base for everything.”

“Like our treatments, the research work is fully multi-disciplinary, coming from the full range of the professions: psychiatry, psychology, occupational therapy and nursing.”