When treating a person with an eating disorder, healthcare professionals need to realize the long-standing affects, issues and challenges that the person might be dealing with, even after successfully completing a program at a residential treatment facility.
Cockell et al, for example, studied 32 women who had been admitted to (and completed) a 15 week residential treatment centre for eating disorders. After the treatment program was completed, all of the women reported a decrease in eating disorder symptoms, but they continued to meet the criteria for an eating disorder.
This is just one example about the cognitive symptoms – such as thought patterns – that a patient still needs to deal with even after some of the behavioural issues have been treated.
How to Find Support After Treatment
As a healthcare professional, you need to make sure that your patient has the right after-care support when they have completed a program at a residential treatment centre. Help your patient find eating disorder support groups and make sure they continue to visit you, a psychologist and / or doctor. Advise their parents on how they can stay attuned to their child’s illness, needs and what they can do to make any transitions easier. Make sure the client has enrolled as an out-patient at the residential treatment facility where they completed their eating disorder program.
There are some things that your client needs to do in order to maintain the positive changes that came as a result of their residential treatment program. You should encourage your client to maintain their social connections for support, continue to apply the skills they learned during their eating disorder treatment and be aware of other psychological triggers and issues that could affect their treatment.
The Looking Glass Residence is a place for young people suffering from eating disorders [anorexia, bulimia, or eating disorders otherwise unspecified] to begin or continue their process of recovery. Learn more here.