UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program includes an Inpatient Program at UCLA’s Santa Monica Hospital for patients through age 25 who are assessed at the highest medical risk related to disordered eating or eating disorders. Indications for admission include severe malnutrition, abnormal vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure or temperature), food refusal, and electrolyte abnormalities related to purging, among other indications.
The focus of the admission is oriented towards medical stabilization as opposed to intensive psychiatric individual or group treatment. This approach honors “food as medicine,” recognizing that a severely malnourished person’s brain is less responsive to therapeutic work than is a re-nourished one.
Average length of stay is 10 days, but this varies greatly from patient to patient.
Features of the inpatient hospitalization include:
* Dietary assessment from a Registered Dietitian and a meal plan to re-nourish and restore physical health;
* Fully supervised meals;
* Cardiac and medical monitoring;
* Supportive intervention from our team psychologist and social worker—providing psychological assessment, family education around new diagnoses, and anxiety management techniques;
* Compassionate nursing skilled in the management of these patients;
* A range of other supportive treatment modalities including Child Life services, pet therapy, and Urban Zen treatments;
* Inter-disciplinary disposition planning, beginning as soon as we get to know our patients and their families.
Parents are allowed to stay overnight with their child or teen if desired.