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Support for Carers/Families

At Riverdale families and carers play an important role in supporting you through recovery.

We use the Maudsley Model of collaborative care. This aims to support families and carers and keep them informed of your progress so that you recover quicker. The support we offer to families includes:

•Information and advice for families and carers

•One to one skills based learning sessions

•Group workshops to improve carers skills and to help support you effectively

•Family therapies

Our experienced multi-disciplinary team of professionals provides specialist eating disorder care. As well as being experienced in working with eating disorders our team are also experienced in working with patients with a range of mental health conditions and are therefore able to work with most co-morbidities that may present along with the eating disorder.

Tips for carers

Useful Books

Accessing Support for your loved one

If you don’t feel that the person that you care about is getting the support that they need

Healthwatch England is the national consumer champion in health and social care. They have statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. Each area has its own Health Watch;

You can also use this link to make a complaint about NHS services.


•Will I be allowed visitors?

Its important to keep in contact with family and friends and visitors are welcome to come and see you whilst you are in hospital. We ask that visits are planned with your key nurse to make sure that they do not interfere with your treatment. All visits take place outside of meal and therapy times. Free car parking is available and public transport links are close by.

•What will I do during the day?

There is a weekly activity plan (see the weekly routine page) which includes various entertainment and therapy based activities. Most things happen during the day and the evening can be a time to relax and rest or be visited by friends and family.

•How long will I be there for?

We aim to support you to make the changes that will help you get back to being at home fulltime. The length of treatment will be recommended after you have been for an assessment. During your stay this will be reviewed on an on-going basis. The length of treatment will depend upon how severe the eating difficulties are and how you respond to treatment.

•What happens at the assessment?

You will be invited to come for an assessment if you have been referred to us. This will mean coming to the hospital and meeting with the Consultant Psychiatrist. You will also meet one of the nurses. During the assessment the Psychiatrist will ask you questions about your personal history and how the eating disorder affects your day to day life. You will be shown around the unit and have the opportunity to ask questions. If you are a young person your parents/carers will come to the assessment.

•What age range do you treat?

The hospital is made up of two separate wards one for adults and another which caters for young people 13-18 years of age.

•Who will be overseeing my treatment?

Treatment in both units is over seen by a Consultant Psychiatrist who will meet with you once a week. Day to day your key nurse will work closely with you to help you create goals for your recovery. You will meet with your key nurse weekly and they will be your main contact. Your key nurse is there to support you throughout your stay.

•Can I bring my own food?

All food and diet is provided as part of your treatment. Our diet has been carefully put together by our Dietician and Nutritionist to help you restore your physical health. For this reason only food prepared on the premises is offered and patients are not able to bring in their own food items.

•What will I have to eat?

Part of the treatment is to help you develop a positive and healthy relationship with food. We understand that food will have been very difficult and can at times feel like the enemy. When you have been admitted you will see our dietician who will discuss with you what you have been eating and then create a plan with you to help you move towards a balanced diet.

•When will I be able to go home?

If you are an inpatient we will discuss your treatment with you regularly. After we have carried out a full assessment we then discuss with you and the people who referred you how long we think you need to be an inpatient for. During your stay depending upon the progress you make you will be able to visit home on leave as soon as possible. As you move forwards you will start to step down from being an inpatient to being at home more or be a day patient. When you feel confident that you will be able to maintain the changes you have made we will plan your discharge from out care with you.

•Can I use my mobile phone?

If you are over eighteen you will have full access to your mobile phone outside of therapy and meal times. If you are under eighteen you will be able to use a phone outside of school, therapies and meal times. This is to help you focus on the treatment you are receiving and if you are in school on your studies without having too many distractions.

•Can I use my laptop?

If you are an adult patient you are able to bring your personal laptop and there will be designated times when you are able to use it. This is mostly when you have free time at the end of the day. If you are a young person you will have access to laptops at a set time outside of school, meal times and therapy to help you keep in contact via email.

•What happens if I don’t like being there?

Understandably most people find being away from home in a strange place difficult at first. We aim to make the hospital as friendly and comfortable as possible and members of staff are always on hand to talk to you. Most people get used to being here and see that although they would prefer to be at home they know it is important to stay to move towards recovery. You will not be forced to stay at Riverdale against your will as all patients come to us on a voluntary basis.

•Is there support for family members?

We understand that often family members need support and we provide informal support for the families of young people. More formal support can be given through support groups and workshops aimed at helping families/partners support their loved one.

•How much weight will I be expected to gain?

Weight gain is only part of the treatment at Riverdale. We believe that expecting someone to make physical changes without providing psychological support is not effective. If your eating disorder has caused you to be at a low weight part of your treatment will be to restore your physical health and re-gain weight. The target for weight gain will be in line with the medical guideline which is between 0.5=1.5kg per week. We will help you to manage this and not allow the weight to increase too quickly.

Treatment involves helping you to develop a positive relationship with food where you feel more relaxed about eating a balanced diet.

•Will I be involved in planning my treatment?

A member of staff will always be available to talk to. We have a weekly community meeting where patients can ask questions and discuss with staff any general queries they have about the day to day running of the hospital. As part of our weekly ward round you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions about your care and put forward your views. During your treatment regular review meetings will be held where you will also have the opportunity to discuss your progress.

See our latest CQC inspection report

Read some of our patient's stories here