Eating Disorder Treatment: Inpatient Hospitalization

By | December 10, 2011

Inpatient hospitalization is a type of eating disorder treatment which is provided in an acute, behavioral health setting for patients with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Inpatient hospitalization is a type of eating disorder treatment which is provided in an acute, behavioral health setting for patients with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
The primary goals of inpatient eating disorder care are:
Nutritional improvement
Medical stabilization
Transition to a structured but less intensive level of care
Eating disorder treatment is effective when:
Directed by a psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders treatment
Patients stay in a highly specialized, separate, secure inpatient environment
An experienced multidisciplinary treatment team treats the patient from several vantage points
A comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan is developed
Treatment revolves around emphasis on patient and family education
Comprehensive case management/coordination of continuing care
Access to onsite experts for additional clinical consultations
Eating disorders treatment team
Treatment services are ideally under the direction of a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders treatment. On admission, each patient may meet with members of a multidisciplinary treatment team for a comprehensive evaluation. Members of the treatment team may include:
Board-certified psychiatrist
Internal medicine physician
Licensed psychologist
Registered psychiatric nurses
Master’s level therapists
Registered dietitians
Experiential therapists
Mental health technicians
Eating disorder treatment components
While treatment ideals are not universal, widely accepted treatment philosophy emphasizes psychiatric education and therapy through a multidisciplinary approach. In eating disorder treatment, families should be considered an integral part of the treatment process. Treatment components may include:
Group therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Interpersonal therapy
Address co-occurring depression and anxiety
Experiential therapy
Art therapy
Movement therapy
Nutritional monitoring
Meal plan development and compliance
Normalizing eating and abstaining from binge, purge, excessive exercise and disordered eating behaviors
Individual and family education
Topics related to diagnosis, recovery, nutritional health and wellness
Medical monitoring
Physical assessment and monitoring by a registered nurse
Laboratory and other medical tests as prescribed by physician
Medication administration as prescribed by physician
Develop support system for recovery
Spiritual care
Continuing care and discharge planning
For a best possible outcome following treatment for an eating disorder, the treatment team will work closely with the professionals who referred the patient to communicate treatment progress and assist in making discharge plans. If necessary, staff would assist with locating resources needed to provide continuing care, further enhancing eating disorder treatment by staying pro-active in caring for the patient.
Admission to eating disorder treatment programs
Admission to inpatient hospitalization for eating disorders is generally contingent upon the following criteria:
Have a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder
Demonstrate a willingness to receive treatment and a desire to recover
Meet medical criteria for inpatient hospitalization
An initial screening with the prospective patient typically starts the admission process. Based on a review of this screening, a psychiatrist will recommend an appropriate level of care. After the review, admissions staff will share the psychiatrist’s recommendation with the individual.
As a courtesy to prospective patients, an eating disorder treatment provider’s staff may contact the individual’s insurance carrier to obtain a quote of insurance benefits. This almost always requires a release from the prospective patient. Benefit availability, service providers, and medical necessity criteria vary with each insurance plan. Typically potential patients check with their medical insurance carrier to determine what is covered and if there are any exclusions. Patient care specialists also provide assistance with remaining questions or concerns, once treatment is underway.