The Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders: the nurse’s role and responsibilities: Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders

The Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders: the nurse’s role and responsibilities

Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders


  • Chiara Foà Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Maria Bertuol Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Laura Deiana Post-graduate training in “Case/Care management in hospital and on territory for health professions”, University of Parma, Italy
  • Sandra Rossi Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy
  • Leopoldo Sarli Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
  • Giovanna Artioli AUSL - IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy


Eating Disorders; Roles; Responsibilities; Health Care Professionals; Nursing; Case/Care Manager; Interview.


Background and aim of the work: Despite its incidence, the Eating Disorder (ED) is underdiagnosed and, for its complexity, it requires multidisciplinary interventions. The Nurse and Case/Care Manager (CCM) have a central role in taking care of the patients with ED, even if the research concerning their role are lacking. Thus, the aim of the study was to investigate roles, activities and expectations of the nurse and the CCM in taking care of patients with ED. Method: 25 Italian different professionals were interviewed (16 women, average age 43.4; SD = 9.23). The semi-structured interview has investigated: nurses’ roles and activities; perceptions of nurses’ evaluation; expectations on nurses’ and CCM’s roles; the interprofessional collaboration. Results: The nurses analyse patients’ care needs and coordinate the multi-professional care with empathic attitude. Their “professionalism, skills, sensitivity, ability to relate to the patient-family unit” are expectations shared by various professionals. About the interprofessional collaboration, the action of professionals is not always well coordinated, the decisions are often not shared and hospital-territory connection is not always realised. The CCM would be the reference in this process for all interviewees. Conclusions: In the three examined contexts the figure of the CCM was not present, but his/her importance was acknowledged in the management of the patient’s care path and as a point of reference for health professionals. It seems important that CCM is institutionally recognized, because the CCM would ensure an efficient management of the clinical pathway and would guarantee the continuity and appropriateness of care.


1. Treasure J, Claudino AM, Zucker N. Eating disorders. Lancet 2010; 375: 583-93.
2. American Psychiatric Association, Ed. it. Massimo Biondi (a cura di), DSM-5. Manuale diagnostico e statistico dei disturbi mentali [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]. Raffaello Cortina Editore, Milano, 2014.
3. Miller CA, Golden NH. An introduction to eating disorders: clinical presentation, epidemiology, and prognosis. Nutr Clin Pract 2010; 25: 110-15.
4. Smink FR, van Hoeken D, Hoek HW. Epidemiology of eating disorders: incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Curr Psychiatry Rep 2012; 14: 406-14.
5. Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, Kessler RC. The prevalence of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biol Psychiatry 2007; 61: 348-58.
6. American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with eating disorders (revision). American Psychiatric Association Work Group on eating disorders. Am J Psychiatry 2000; 157: 1-39.
7. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence: Guidance. Eating disorders: core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, United Kingdom, 2004.
8. Gigantesco A, Masocco M, Picardi A, Lega I, Conti S, Vichi M. Hospitalization for anorexia nervosa in Italy. Riv Psichiatr 2010; 45: 154-62.
9. Berti L. La prassi del case management infermieristico in Emilia-Romagna: l’identikit professionale del case manager infermieristico [The practice of nursing case management in Emilia-Romagna: the professional identikit of the nursing case manager]. L’infermiere 2013; 2: 41-53.
10. Case Manager Society of America. Standards of practice for case management. Case Management Society of America, Arkansas, 2016.
11. Chiari P, Santullo A. L’infermiere case manager – dalla teoria alla prassi. [The case manager nurse – from theory to practice]. McGraw-Hill, Milano, 2010.
12. Smith AT, Kelly-Weeder S, Engel J, McGowan KA, Anderson B, Wolfe BE. Quality of eating disorders websites: what adolescents and their families need to know. J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs 2011; 24: 33-7.
13. King SJ, de Sales Turner. Caring for adolescent females with anorexia nervosa: registered nurses’ perspective. J Adv Nurs 2000; 32: 139-147.
14. Micevski, V, Mccann TV. Developing interpersonal relationships with adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Contemp Nurse 2005; 20: 102-16.
15. Button EJ, Warren RL. Living with anorexia nervosa. The experience of a cohort of sufferers from anorexia nervosa 7.5 years after initial presentation to a specialized eating disorders service. Eur Eat Disord Rev 2001; 9: 74-96.
16. Colton A, Pistrang N. Adolescents' experiences of inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa. Eur Eat Disord Rev 2004; 12: 307-16.
17. De la Rie S, Noordenbos G, Donker M, van Furth E. Evaluating the treatment of eating disorders from the patient's perspective. Int J Eat Disord 2006; 39: 667-76.
18. Federici A, Kaplan AS. The patient's account of relapse and recovery in anorexia nervosa: A qualitative study. Eur Eat Disord Rev 2008; 16: 1-10. 19.
19. Tierney S. The individual within a condition: a qualitative study of young people’s reflections on being treated for anorexia nervosa. J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc 2008; 13: 368-75.
20. Reid M, Burr J, Williams S, Hammersley R. Eating disorders patients’ views on their disorders and on an outpatient service: a qualitative study. J Health Psychol 2008; 13: 956-60.
21. Bakker R, van Meijel B, Beukers L, van Ommen J, Meerwijk E, van Elburg A. Recovery of normal body weight in adolescents with anorexia nervosa: the nurses’ perspective on effective interventions. J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs 2011; 24: 16-22.
22. MacDonald P, Murray J, Goddard E, Treasure JL. Carer’s experience and perceived effects of a skills based training programme for families of people with eating disorders: a qualitative study. Eur Eat Disord Rev 2011; 19: 475-86.
23. Wright KM. Therapeutic relationship: developing a new understanding for nurses and care workers within an eating disorder unit. Int J Ment Health Nurs 2010; 19: 154-61.
24. Wright KM, Hacking S. An angel on my shoulder: a study of relationships between women with anorexia and healthcare professionals. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs 2012; 19: 107-15.
25. Pernigotto C. Profilo professionale del case manager dell’inserimento lavorativo [Professional profile of the case manager of job placement]. Novara, 2011.
26. Newell C. Nursing and eating disorders. Eur Eat Disorders Rev 2004; 12: 1-3.
27. Ramjan LM. Nurses and the ‘therapeutic relationship’: caring for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. J Adv Nurs 2004; 45: 495-503.
28. Ryan V, Malson H, Clarke S, Anderson G, Kohn M. Discursive constructions of ‘eating disorders nursing’: an analysis of nurses’ accounts of nursing eating disorders patients. Eur Eat Disorders Rev 2006; 14: 125-135.
29. King SJ, de Sales Turner. Caring for adolescent females with anorexia nervosa: registered nurses’ perspective. J Adv Nurs 2000; 32: 139-147.
30. Ramjan LM, Gill BI. Original research: an inpatient program for adolescents with anorexia experienced as a metaphoric prison. AJN 2012; 112: 24-33.
31. Levati W, Saraò MV. Il modello delle competenze. Un contributo originale per la definizione di un nuovo approccio all’individuo e all’organizzazione [The skills model. An original contribution for the definition of a new approach to the individual and to the organization]. Franco Angeli, Milano, 2004.
32. Mazzara MV. Metodi qualitativi in psicologia sociale. Prospettive teoriche e strumenti operativi [Qualitative methods in social psychology. Theoretical perspectives and operational instruments]. Carocci, Roma, 2002.
33. Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Conferenza di Consenso. Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare (DCA) negli adolescenti e nei giovani adulti [Consensus Conference. Eating Disorders (ED) in teenagers and in young adults]. Roma, 24-25 Ottobre 2012.
34. Sly R, Mountford VA, Morgan JF, Lacey JH. Premature termination of treatment for anorexia nervosa: differences between patient-initiated and staff-initiated discharge. Int J Eat Disord 2014; 1: 40-46.




How to Cite

Foà C, Bertuol M, Deiana L, Rossi S, Sarli L, Artioli G. The Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders: the nurse’s role and responsibilities: Case/Care Manager in Eating Disorders. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2019 Nov. 11 [cited 2024 Jul. 23];90(11-S):17-28. Available from: