New Guidance On ED Emergency Care Published

ED Emergency Care Guidance

New guidance has been published that provides healthcare professionals with information on how to respond to medical emergencies among those presenting with eating disorders (EDs).

The Medical Emergencies In Eating Disorders: Guidance On Recognition and Management paper has been developed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, with the help of expert contributors, including Dr Sonu Sharma, lead consultant psychiatrist of Eating Disorder Services at the Priory Cheadle Royal in Manchester.

It notes that ED referrals increased dramatically during the pandemic, which is what led the organisation to create a document to help healthcare staff know what to look for with regards to ED medical emergencies and how to act in these cases.

“The aim of this guidance is to make preventable deaths due to eating disorders a thing of the past,” the guidance stated.

Its recommendations include raising awareness that ED patients might be high risk despite appearing well; undertaking physical risk assessments in primary and secondary settings, including blood tests and electrocardiography; adjusting assessment measures, such as BMI, for children under 18 years old; and admitting ED patients to general psychiatric units if there are no specialist ED unit beds available.

In addition to this, patients should be treated by specialists in ED when being admitted to medical or paediatric wards; the medical team should safely refeed the patient and manage fluid and electrolyte problems; and the mental health team should manage behavioural problems and advise on onward care.

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Published: 15 June 2022