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A hub and spokes approach to building community capacity for eating disorders in rural Western Australia

Authors

  • Julie McCormack MPsych,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Hunna J. Watson PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Paediatrics and Child Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    2. Centre for Clinical Interventions, Department of Health in Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    • Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Chris Harris BA(Hons)Psych,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Julie Potts BSc,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • David Forbes MBBS

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    2. School of Paediatrics and Child Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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Correspondence: Dr Hunna J. Watson, Eating Disorders Program, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, PO Box D184, Perth, Western Australia, 6840, Australia. Email: hunna.watson@health.wa.gov.au

Abstract

Objective

To determine whether an outreach community-based training program on eating disorders enhances perceived capacity of rural health and education professionals to respond to and manage eating disorders.

Design

Survey conducted upon completion of outreach training.

Setting

Rural Western Australia.

Participants

Health and education professionals working in rural Western Australia.

Main outcome measures

Questionnaire responses analysed via descriptive statistics and inferential tests.

Results

There was a significant increase in perceived ability to identify, support and/or treat people with eating disorders among health and education professionals.

Conclusions

Outreach training up-skilled rural gatekeepers and introduced systemic health system benefits of increased consultation and liaison, a fine-tuning of referral processes, a reduction in hospital admissions and better uptake of local services by patients discharged from hospital.

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