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Levels of Care
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In addition to deciding on a treatment approach, a family must determine the best place for the patient to receive treatment.

     * Outpatient (OP): The patient lives at home and attends hourly sessions at a therapist's office
     * Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): The patient lives at home but attends sessions much of the day and may eat most meals at the clinic
     * Partial Hospitalization (PHP): The patient lives part of the time at the hospital and part of the time at home
     * Inpatient (IP): The patient is hospitalized, usually for medical stabilization, and may or may not receive therapy
     * Residential: Full time, long-term residence at a specialized treatment facility ranging from a few weeks to several months

For a comprehensive discussion of this topic: HERE.

Determining the appropriate level of care for a patient is an extremely important decision. Parents should carefully research all options early in the process to avoid being forced to make difficult decisions in a crisis. All alternatives must be carefully researched and references checked from independent sources. Price and geographical distance are often not the most relevant factors. It is very important to make decisions based on the patient's individual circumstances and the specific training and abilities of the clinic or clinician.

Medical, diagnostic, supervisory, and philosophical approaches to eating disorders vary widely between clinicians and clinics. It is appropriate for parents and loved ones to be involved with and to thoroughly research any treatment environment before committing to care.

Eating disorders are a unique field and ideally involve specialized care. It is important to be evaluated and followed by an eating disorders specialist - not a general practitioner who may not be trained in eating disorders. Eating disorder specialists should be recently trained and engaged in ongoing education in the field. Most specialists are active members of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and/or the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals. IAEDP also offers certification for clinicians:  Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS) in mental health or a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist in Nutrition (CEDSN). Not all eating disorder specialists are trained to offer evidence-based care.

It is a good idea to interview clinicians thoroughly, and schedule appointments with several clinicians before starting treatment. Consultations can be done without the patient present to prevent unneccesary disruption or mixed messages.

All eating disorder treatment should involve full nutrition.

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