The first step in deciding on care for a child or adolescent is getting a thorough assessment, establishing a diagnosis and making a treatment recommendation. From the first assessment through all levels of treatment at Kartini Clinic parents are informed and involved. This is consistent with our conviction that parents do not cause eating disorders and, in fact, are essential treatment team members. With the assistance of our pediatric nurse, one of our Board certified pediatricians will do a complete physical, family interview and eating disorder assessment for your child. Their conclusions and recommendations will be shared with you and with any providers you specify.
Kartini Clinic currently has four levels of care. Each level is designed to lead to the next, lower level of care; combined, these four levels of care are designed to complement each other and support lasting recovery.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
This is a perfectly reasonable question. However, as with any medical illness the only honest answer is: it depends. And as with treatment for any illness, the highest standard is to treat to an outcome, not a deadline.
However, it is also necessary to try to give some idea of an average length required at each level of care. For example, an average length of an Inpatient stay is around 7 to 10 days; the Partial Hospitalization (PHP) level of care is designed as an 8 week program, but actual length of stay depends on individual circumstances. Intensive Outpatient (IOP) can vary highly and also be dependent on success at Inpatient and/or Partial levels of care. Outpatient follow up is highly individualized. Most patients can be swiftly and effectively returned to their community providers when their metabolic labs have stabilized, with a plan in hand for continued ordered eating at home. Some patients may need a longer period of follow-up to achieve this, however, and decisions in this regard are made in collaboration with the family.
However, several factors can contribute to an average length of treatment (and this is not an exhaustive list):
Age of the child
How long a child has been ill
Severity of symptoms
If a child is medically unstable
Age of patient matters because if left untreated an illness such as anorexia can develop into a chronic condition including irreversible physiological damage to vital organs, cognitive functioning, and bone health. In other words the earlier the (effective) intervention the better.
Related to the age of a patient is the length of time they have been ill. The longer a child has been ill the longer effective (i.e. intensive) treatment is likely to take.
Like all biological illnesses some cases of anorexia, bulimia, or food phobia are more severe than others, due to such factors as an individual’s genetic predisposition, random variations in human biology, environmental circumstances as well as just plain bad luck. The more severe the case, the longer intensive treatment will likely be required.
If a child is medically unstable this will necessarily add to the required length of treatment.