Eating Disorders Program

The Eating Disorders Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital offers various levels of care to support children and adolescents diagnosed with an eating disorder or disordered eating.

Experts from Adolescent Medicine and Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children’s work with the child and family to stabilize eating behavior and health. The team also addresses concerns that may lead to disordered eating, including medical or psychiatric concerns.

A team of dietitians, physicians, behavioral health therapists, psychiatrists and nurses work together to meet each individual child’s needs at each level of care.

Levels of Care

The Eating Disorders Program includes several levels of care:

  • Outpatient Program
  • Intensive Outpatient Program
  • Partial Hospitalization Program

When a child or adolescent is referred to the Eating Disorders Program, they receive a diagnostic assessment provided by a licensed mental health worker, dietitian and physician. The assessment determines the appropriate level of care.

Patients recommended for intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization care will be referred to the team psychiatrist. The psychiatrist conducts an assessment and recommends the appropriate program.

Outpatient Program

  • Meets one time per week or as needed
  • Therapy is designed to help parents stabilize their child’s eating and help parents learn strategies to change behavior and cope with stress.

Intensive Outpatient Program

The program provides more structure for adolescents ages 12-18 and families who need additional support than what is provided in outpatient treatment. It can also be used as a transition from the Partial Hospitalization Program. 
  • Meets three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) for 6-8 weeks. The program takes place in the evening.
  • Parents/caregivers are expected to provide all meals each day of treatment. Parents/caregivers will join treatment and meals on Monday and Thursday for “family night.”
  • All meals have a dietitian and behavioral health therapist present.
  • Treatment includes patients and families attending group, individual and family appointments where they receive counseling, nutritional and medical guidance, psychiatric treatment and occupational therapy.

Partial Hospitalization Program

This program is designed to help stabilize eating, monitor medical concerns, and provide skills and structure to adolescents ages 12-18 with eating disorders. 
  • Meets Monday through Friday 
  • Expected length of stay is 4 to 6 weeks
  • Patients participate in group, individual and family therapy sessions led by behavioral health therapists.
  • Nutritional counseling, occupational therapymassage therapy, nursing care, medical stabilization and psychiatric treatment are also provided.
  • All meals during treatment time are provided on-site and prepared by a chef. All meals have a dietitian and behavioral health therapist present.
  • Parents/caregivers will join treatment and meals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Meals are provided for up to two additional family members.
  • Patients are provided time to complete schoolwork daily. An education coordinator is on site to assist with school needs.  

Your Care Team

Due to the medical and psychological complexity of eating disorders, effective treatment involves the collaboration of clinicians from different health disciplines.

The team works together to help patients and families achieve recovery.

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