For young people with an eating disorder, meal times can be quite challenging and sometimes by trying to encourage eating, it may trigger unwanted behaviour such as stopping eating.
At Rhodes Wood Hospital Specialist Eating Disorder unit our dietician has developed the Star Table Project, designed to support young people through meal times. Our dietician will work with the young person to understand the verbal triggers and develop a Star Table with positive language and prompts to support them and their parents or carers through meal times and their recovery journey.
Parents and carers can often struggle to know what to say to their daughter or son at the table or they are frightened of saying the wrong thing. Language used at meal times plays a big part in encouraging the young person to eat so we use phrases such as “It is safe” or “I am with you, you can do this”. At this stage the aim is to make the young person feel emotionally contained so they are able to eat. It is not about making them feel well as this is often triggering.
By understanding the verbal triggers, the young person and dietician are able to work together to develop an individualised Star Table. Each Star includes details and phrases that support the young person through meal times. For example it may be to remember their pet or think about friends at home. Each young person also chooses colours and images to personalise their plan.
From qualitative and observational evaluations, the Star Project has made the dining room a more positive environment and the young people are more empowered to eat.
Rhodes Wood Hospital provides specialist inpatient care and treatment for children and young people aged 8 -18 years old with an eating disorder.
Our expert multi-disciplinary team provide person centred care that is tailored to meet the physical and medical/mental health needs of each individual, to support them through their journey with us and to continue their treatment in the community.