ERC Denver at Willow

ERC Denver Announces Opening of Child & Adolescent Inpatient Unit at Willow

The stressors of the past year have been tremendously challenging for the mental health of our nation’s children. Specifically, there is a critical need across the country for highly specialized treatment for children and adolescents (C &A) with eating disorders. We have seen this firsthand in the increase in the number of families seeking treatment for their children and adolescents at Eating Recovery Center (ERC).

ERC is responding to this mental health crisis by dedicating 18 beds in our state-of-the-art treatment center, Willow in Denver, to help medically and/or psychiatrically complex C&A patients that need individualized stabilization.

To learn more about this expansion dedicated to children and adolescents, we connected with Lisa Constantino, LPC, CEDS-S, Clinical Director at Willow.

Can you tell us more about the C&A Inpatient unit at Willow?

The Willow C&A Inpatient Unit will offer highly specialized treatment to those patients with complex or urgent medical and psychiatric presentations. These patients will generally be admitted to an inpatient level of care and to the care of a specialized inpatient treatment team. Most patients will progress through our levels of care at ERC to residential and partial hospitalization care in other programs once they are ready for a less intensive unit. Patients typically transition from this unit to these lower levels of care within our own system but, if they have been referred from another program or would benefit from the care of a different program, they will transfer there when medically and psychiatrically stable.

Is the medical staff experienced in this specialized treatment?

The medical and psychiatric providers at ERC Denver have a well-earned nationally renowned reputation for excellence and expertise in the care of complex eating disorder patients.

Who is this treatment program designed for?

ERC’s Clinical Assessment Team members are expert in evaluating and determining what patients will be most appropriate for this unit. Some general criteria include:

  • Patients who have cycled in and out of treatment a few times with minimal success upon discharge
  • Patients with symptoms that make it difficult to effectively participate in group or community treatment settings, such as limited ability to regulate emotions, need for individualized vs. milieu treatment model, and difficulties with socialization
  • Patients with developmental differences that may prohibit them from effectively engaging in community treatment settings 
  • Many child & adolescent patients stepping down from Denver Health ACUTE will be appropriate to admit
  • Most patients who are currently or need to imminently be given tube feeds upon admission will be appropriate for this unit, especially if they are resistant to tube feeding support

Is this a new or different level of care?

No. Depending on patients individual needs and acuity they will be IP or RES patients based on the standard levels of care guidelines that ERC follows. The primary difference between patients admitting to this new location is that ERC's C&A Inpatient unit at Willow will focus on supporting some of the more medically and/or psychiatrically complex patients who are not demonstrating readiness for milieu-based treatment.

This C&A Unit uses the ERC psychiatrist led multidisciplinary treatment model. Treatment always includes psychiatric evaluation and interventions, specialized and expert medical assessment and monitoring, family therapy and support, individual psychotherapy and treatment planning, nutrition counseling and menu planning with an individual Registered Dietitian, the ability to support tube feeds, and strong coordination with each patient’s outpatient team.

Will Willow’s C&A Inpatient program be taking new patients?

Of course. We are first working through our waitlist and are prioritizing admission to this unit for those that are assessed to be most likely to benefit.

What is the next step for current patients in ERC’s current treatment program?

In most cases this will not impact your loved one if your child is a current patient at one of our other locations (like Juniper). If, during the course of treatment, a change to this unit is needed, your treatment teams will be talking with you prior to any movement and what it means for your child’s individual course of treatment. We are committed to supporting your child (and you) to ensure they receive the optimal treatment for their individual medical, psychiatric, and clinical condition.

Learn more about Eating Recovery Center Denver here.


About Lisa Constantino:

Lisa is the Clinical Director for our Willow Program in Denver, CO. She oversees our Adult Community Treatment model (team continuity through IP, RES, PHP) as well as our Adult Intensive Treatment Unit (IP/RES). She will now also oversee the Willow Child & Adolescent Inpatient Unit (IP/RES) in Denver, CO. Both adult and child inpatient units specialize in assessment, evaluation, and stabilizing our most complex eating disorder patients, including those that struggle with psychiatric and medical co-morbidities. Through assessment, collaboration, therapeutic structure, behavioral containment, and individualized treatment plans, patients who struggle with motivation, can find meaning in movement forward in their treatment.

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

Joint Commission Seal