Inpatient/ Hospital Treatment Programs
Patients who are medically unstable or severely compromised may need hospitalization on a medical unit, a med-psych unit or an eating disorder medical unit. In cases of significant weight loss and malnourishment, an inpatient setting with physicians experienced in the refeeding syndrome would be indicated.
These individuals are at risk for serious or life threatening events. Symptoms that would indicate the need for inpatient treated might be related to significant/rapid weight loss, altered vital signs, abnormal laboratory findings such as electrolyte or EKG changes or co-existing problems such as diabetes.
Psychiatric /Eating Disorder Unit:
Eating disorder patients can be treated on a general psychiatric unit. However, it is usually recommended that the individual selects an inpatient program which has a specific eating disorder program or separate specialized unit devoted to the care of individuals with an eating disorder.
Patients who meet the criteria for inpatient admission are psychiatrically unstable, may show rapid worsening of their eating disorder symptoms and may be suicidal and unable to contract for safety. Inpatient treatment provides a structured environment where 24 hour clinical care is available.
Eating disorder programs are best suited to monitor those undergoing weight restorations and address the medical/nutritional concerns of eating disorder patients while providing assistance in helping them normalize their eating patterns. In addition to providing structure and monitoring of eating patterns, various forms of psychotherapy are provided.
The usual length of stay is less than 3-4 weeks. Once the individual is considered medically stable, they are usually transferred to a lower level of care program. This can be a partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient program or a residential treatment center.