The aim of this paper is to consider family and wider carer involvement in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, and how this can be used to add value to services. We discuss widely adopted interventions involving the family that have been manualised and studied in trials that have outcome measures that are of relevance to illness costs. The therapeutic targets of these interventions range from a focus on feeding to the wellbeing of the whole family. The theoretical models that underpin interventions involving the family/wider carers include both intra and interpersonal processes, with the exception of family-based therapy, which in its original form holds an agnostic stance towards aetiology. Although formal evaluation of the cost effectiveness of these interventions is minimal, there is evidence that involving the family can reduce bed use and improve the wellbeing of both patients and family members. Moreover, for the most part, these interventions are acceptable to patients and carers. Finally, we consider how these approaches can be disseminated and scaled up more widely into services.
© 2020 The Authors. European Eating Disorders Review published by Eating Disorders Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.