Information for the public

Supporting parents, family members and carers

Supporting parents, family members and carers

It is difficult and distressing for parents, partners and other family members of someone with an eating disorder. If you care for someone with an eating disorder you may feel guilty or responsible and unsure of how to help them get better. You should be asked what help and support you need while the person you care for has treatment. This should include:

  • emotional and social support

  • practical support, including discussing care plans and what to do if emergency care is needed.

Being involved

Your child or partner might find it comforting to have family members involved in their care while they recover. But if they decide they prefer not to have family involved then professionals will need to respect their wishes.

Advice for parents

If you have a child with an eating disorder who is under 16, you may need to consent to treatment on their behalf. They may have an assessment of whether they can understand and make decisions on their own. If they can, professionals should respect their wishes about how much information they can give you.

If you are not involved in family therapy with your child or in meetings about your child's care, you should still be kept informed as much as possible with what's happening and offered your own support.

You should also be told about any dietary planning and information that your child agrees with their doctor or other professionals, so that you can support them at home.