The North West London based service was acquired by Care UK in early 2011, retaining the effective treatment model in place since the service opened in 1991. Accessible from anywhere in the UK and also from abroad, Rhodes Farm provides treatment for males and females aged 6 to 19 with a range of diagnoses including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Accreditation follows a rigorous assessment of the service by Beat staff and volunteers. This included a visit to the service and discussions with current patients and their parents, comparing their experiences to key ‘Beat Assured Standards’ including access, physical environment, assessment and initial care, treatment, family and carer involvement, monitoring, transitions and ending care and treatment.
Parental support, the professionalism of staff, and the effective yet realistic approach were key good practice points identified by the assessors - and summarised by one parent: “Having seen a wealth of ‘experts’ it was only when we got to Rhodes Farm that we felt truly ‘heard’ and the sense of relief was huge. Every member of staff we came into contact with gave us confidence and hope.
“The children progress steadily through each stage and their lives are slowly given back to them, gradually eroding eating disordered behaviour. Rhodes Farm makes no claims of ‘curing’ eating disorders but they do lay the foundations necessary for the long process towards recovery.”
Patients’ experiences of the service were similarly positive. “I felt very safe at Rhodes Farm. The nurses knew what they were doing. The good support and friendly atmosphere helped me get better,” said one patient.
Another commented: “During my stay I got to see that there was more to life than anorexia, it really helped me and I made lots of friends.”
Parents also noted the importance of this supportive peer environment:
Teaching staff, “highly commended” by one parent, ensure liaison with patients’ schools and colleges so that their education can continue alongside treatment: “our daughter could take and pass all her GCSEs and that really mattered to her.”
Finally, the aftercare support provided by Rhodes Farm really sets the service apart. Both patients and parents are appropriately prepared for the return home, at which point “the on-going out-patient care is phenomenal and the support that they continue to give is second to none.”