The STEPs team was formed in 1999 in response to an increasing demand for specialised treatment for eating disorders. The team is based at The STEPs Unit, Southmead Hospital with community psychiatric nurses covering the outlying areas of South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset. We are a multidisciplinary team with a wide skill mix including medical, psychological, dietetic, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, art psychotherapy and nursing input. We see adults of working age who have a primary diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). Please note we are unable to see people who have a diagnosis of binge eating disorder.
The approach we utilise at STEPs is based around the transtheoretical model of change (Prochaska and DiClemente, 1982). In this model the client's motivation is key to effective and lasting change. Therefore any intervention needs to be matched appropriately to the client with regard to the work they want to do. As a result we aim to offer a therapeutic intervention for each motivational stage a client is in. This is either done individually, via a group or working alongside a secondary team worker supporting someone in the community.
As a tertiary service we accept referrals from primary care mental health liaison teams in the Avon area. All referrals should be directed to the clinical team leader, including out of area requests. Referrals are taken in as single point of entry and need to highlight relevant areas of concern including weight, height, weight history, eating behaviours and any other pertinent issues. Please note we do not accept direct referrals from GPs. Therefore to access the STEPs service, sufferers will need to visit their GP, who will refer them to the appropriate primary care liaison team, who in turn will contact us. Upon receiving an appropriate referral we conduct an assessment to establish the best role for our service in line with a clients needs.
Team members hold individual caseloads to whom they offer support and therapy. We liaise closely with the relevant community teams and are always available to do joint assessments on complex eating disorder cases, or provide support and education as necessary.
The STEPs service is available to help provide a resource of specialist knowledge in the Trust concerning eating disorders. We offer support and supervision to all secondary teams working with eating disordered clients. We also offer trust wide education and training for all workers in the trust and relevant non-statutory workers.