FREED-Up Conference and Celebration Event

1st March 2019

The FREED-Up Closing Conference was held on the 1st March 2019. It celebrated the end of the 2-year scaling-up trial that took FREED from the Maudsley Eating Disorder Service to the eating disorder services of Central and North West London, Leeds and York Partnership, and North East London NHS Foundation Trusts. FREED-Up was funded by The Health Foundation and allowed 278 young people to access FREED treatment between 2016 and 2018. The study demonstrated that FREED could be scaled successfully to different services and contexts.

"Patients treated through FREED-Up had an eating disorder for 24 weeks less, on average, than matched controls. 24 weeks means saving 168 days of distress, 500 difficult meal times, and 4000 hours of impaired functioning. "

Professor Ulrike Schmidt

The conference programme included keynote speakers Professor Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann and Dr Helen Sharpe. Professor Herpertz-Dahlmann shared her experiences developing home treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa in Germany. Home treatment allows young people to be treated successfully at home with the support of their families, rather than in hospital settings. Dr Sharpe presented recent research on risk factors for body image concerns and eating disorders. Her group has developed school-based prevention programmes for reducing these risk factors.

The FREED team summarised the journey of FREED to date and initial findings from the FREED-Up trial. FREED-Up successfully reduced waiting times and Duration of an Untreated Eating Disorder (DUED) across the 4 study sites, with results closely replicating those from the initial evaluation of FREED at the Maudsley Hospital.

Dr Monique Schelhase and Mary Franklin-Smith shared their experiences adopting FREED in Leeds and then scaling it further across Yorkshire. They shared their initial scepticism of FREED, progressing through to current enthusiasm!

We were delighted to have a patient and carer share their firsthand experiences with FREED. Their stories highlighted how hard it is when faced with delays in the early stage of an eating disorder, particularly when moving between family and university locations. FREED was able to provide rapid care but also coordinated and flexible care.

Representatives from Beat, the UK Eating Disorder Charity, included Jonathan Kelly and Andrew Radford. Jonathan presented research on the negative consequences of long waits for eating disorder treatment.

We were delighted to welcome so many attendees from around the country. Thank you to everyone who came and contributed.

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