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Hospitalisation for eating disorders: what to expect

Facing hospitalisation for an eating disorder can be overwhelming and intimidating. It represents a significant milestone in the recovery journey, often filled with uncertainty and questions.

This article aims to demystify the hospitalisation process by outlining what to expect during inpatient treatment for eating disorders, highlighting the role of support systems, and providing insight into the comprehensive care offered at Schoen Clinic Newbridge in Birmingham and Schoen Clinic York.

Contact our team to learn more today.

teenage girl eating disorder therapist

Understanding residential eating disorder treatment and hospitalisation

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and OSFED, are serious mental health conditions characterised by unhealthy relationships with food that can dominate a person's life. When these disorders become life-threatening due to severe malnutrition, rapid weight loss, or other serious health complications, hospitalisation becomes necessary.

Residential eating disorder treatment offers a supportive and structured environment for individuals to focus solely on their recovery. Being removed from the distractions and triggers of everyday life can be extremely beneficial for individuals struggling with an eating disorder.

In a residential setting, individuals have access to round-the-clock care from a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including therapists, dietitians, and medical staff. This level of support allows for intensive treatment and monitoring, which can be crucial for addressing the physical and psychological aspects of an eating disorder.

Additionally, the communal aspect of residential treatment provides opportunities for peer support and connection, reducing feelings of isolation and shame. Overall, residential eating disorder treatment can provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to recovery, leading to long-term positive outcomes for individuals.

When is hospitalisation necessary?

Hospitalisation is typically recommended when outpatient treatments are insufficient. This is often due to severe physical health risks or significant psychological distress. Inpatient or residential treatment for eating disorders is also considered when the patient’s home environment lacks the necessary support for recovery or contains triggers that could impede progress.

Ultimately, the decision for hospitalisation is made by a healthcare professional based on an assessment of the individual's overall health, the severity of the disorder, and their response to previous treatments.

If you need inpatient eating disorder treatment for an adult, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team in York, you can refer yourself here. Or, if you need support for a child, you can refer them for inpatient treatment at our Birmingham hospital here. Our team is here to help.

The multidisciplinary treatment team

At specialised hospitals like Schoen Clinic Newbridge, which caters to children and teens with eating disorders, and Schoen Clinic York, which focuses on adult care, a multidisciplinary team works collaboratively to provide comprehensive treatment.

This team typically includes psychiatrists, psychologists, dietitians, and nurses, each playing a crucial role in addressing the multifaceted nature of eating disorders. Their combined expertise ensures a holistic approach to treatment, covering all aspects of the patient's health and wellbeing.

Meet Sara Merchant in the video below, she's the Lead Dietitian at Schoen Clinic Newbridge and emphasises the importance of finding balance during treatment.

What to expect during the intake process

Upon admission, patients undergo a thorough assessment that includes medical, psychiatric, and nutritional evaluations.

The results of these evaluations are used to create a personalised treatment plan tailored to the unique needs of each patient. This initial step is essential in setting the foundation for effective treatment and recovery.

Personalised treatment programmes in residential care

Inpatient care at Schoen Clinic Newbridge and Schoen Clinic York involves personalised treatment programmes designed to meet the specific needs and recovery goals of each patient.

These programmes often include various therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), occupational therapy, group therapies and nutritional counselling.

Additionally, the treatment plans recognise any co-occurring mental health conditions, ensuring a comprehensive approach to recovery.

Daily life during a hospital stay

A hospital stay for eating disorder treatment follows a structured routine, including therapy sessions, meal times, and rest periods.

Patients participate in group activities that encourage peer support and help develop healthy coping strategies. This structured environment provides the stability needed for effective recovery.

What might a typical day look like? Watch a short video of a snippet of a day at Schoen Clinic York to find out below.

Therapeutic approaches and meal support

Therapeutic approaches such as CBT and DBT are integral to the treatment process.

Nutritional counselling and meal support are also critical, helping patients confront and overcome their fears about food in a safe and supportive environment. Exposure therapy is often used to help patients gradually reintroduce foods and normalise eating patterns.

The role of support systems in recovery

A strong support system is vital during recovery. Family, friends, and peer support within the hospital play a significant role in providing encouragement and understanding.

Group therapy sessions offer a platform for patients to share experiences, encouraging mutual support and empathy.

Transitioning to outpatient care and aftercare

The journey to recovery continues beyond hospital discharge. An aftercare plan, which includes outpatient services, therapy, and support groups, is essential for maintaining progress and preventing relapse.

These resources ensure that patients have continued support as they transition back to their daily lives.

The advantages of choosing residential treatment

Residential treatment offers several advantages over other forms of treatment. It provides a comprehensive, structured approach to recovery that addresses all aspects of the disorder. Moreover, it offers an immersive environment away from daily stressors. This allows patients to focus solely on their recovery.

Other benefits of residential inpatient treatment include:

  • A safe and supportive environment: Residential treatment provides a safe and supportive environment for recovery. It offers a space free from triggers that might hinder progress. The supportive community within the eating disorder treatment centre also plays a crucial role. It fosters a sense of belonging and understanding, which can be therapeutic in itself.

  • Intensive and personalised Care: Residential treatment offers highly specialised and personalised care. The staff-to-patient ratio ensures that each patient receives the attention they need. Treatment plans are tailored to the unique needs of each individual. This ensures that all aspects of the patient's disorder are addressed.

  • Family involvement and education: Family involvement is often encouraged in residential treatment. This helps to create a supportive environment for the patient even outside the hospital environment. Education for family members is also provided. This helps them understand the disorder better and equips them with the skills to support their loved one's recovery journey.

Long-term benefits and recovery outcomes

Residential treatment for eating disorders is not just about immediate recovery. It also focuses on long-term outcomes. The goal is to equip patients with the skills and knowledge they need to maintain their recovery even after leaving the hospital.

This is achieved through a combination of therapy, education, and support. Patients learn to manage their disorders, make healthy lifestyle choices, and build a strong support system. All these contribute to long-term recovery and improved quality of life.

Do you need specialised inpatient treatment for an eating disorder?

Hospitalisation for eating disorders, while daunting, can be a crucial step towards recovery. Understanding the process and what to expect can help alleviate fears and provide a clearer picture of the path ahead.

Whether at Schoen Clinic Newbridge for children or Schoen Clinic York for adults, our comprehensive inpatient care offers the structured environment and expert support necessary for effective treatment and lasting recovery.

Please don't hesitate to contact our caring team today if you'd like to learn more.

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