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Life After Treatment:
What to Expect

what happens after eating disorder treatment?
When a patient discharges from treatment, it is normal for the patient — and the caregiver — to worry or feel overwhelmed. As a friend or family member, you play an important role in the recovery support process after your loved one heads home from ERC.

When people transition from ERC back to life at home, they realize how much of a cocoon that the treatment setting was. At ERC, your loved one has been surrounded by experienced professionals that specialize in treating people with eating disorders. Patients are able to talk openly about feelings and behaviors with people who understand — including people who are going through many of the same things.

Keeping in touch

A strong support system will be critical for your loved one after treatment ends. Our Alumni/Family Liaisons (Masters-level clinicians) are here to help you and your loved ones create and maintain a support system that works for you. 

Our Alumni/Family Liaisons follow up with patients after treatment ends — or they will follow up with parents of patients under the age of 18. These phone calls and email check-ins will occur at different time periods: at seven days, thirty days, six months and one year after discharge. Our goal during these check-ins will be to see how you are doing, help you find any resources that you might need and answer any questions that you might have.

It will greatly benefit your loved one if you can continue to learn about the unique challenges they will be facing at home in recovery. We offer many avenues of support to help you do this: 

You are always welcome to make follow-up phone calls and emails to us. You never have to feel alone or unsupported.

Transitioning home

Your loved one has made a very difficult and brave decision to do the hard work required in treatment. We ask you to support them as they continue this hard work at home.
 
We encourage your involvement in the transition home, which will be progressive. First, your loved one will come home at night and on weekends before they return home permanently
 
Once they are fully discharged, we will recommend on-going outpatient care (dietary, mental health and medical support).

Transitioning to outpatient care

If your loved one was working with health professionals before coming to ERC, we will most likely be consulting with them while your loved is in care with us.

If you are leaving ERC and you don’t have a treatment team that you are working with, we will help you find one before discharge.
If your loved one is leaving ERC by choice, we will discuss the pros and cons of leaving treatment early. There can be a real therapeutic benefit in working with the same treatment team for an extended period of time. This continuity of care is one of our hallmarks.

Support for children and adolescents after treatment

If you are the parent of a young person under 18, we will discuss meal planning at home regularly throughout treatment. In our Family-Based Treatment program you will be taught how to:

  • Fill out menus for your child

  • Redirect behaviors

  • Plate and portion your child’s meals, and more

Over time your child will spend less time in the program and more time with you in “real-life” situations before they return home. Family meals, outings and passes will all be available as your child moves forward in recovery. 

Following treatment, we will ensure a seamless transition from your ERC care team to your home-based treatment team; our Alumni Team will check in with you regularly once treatment ends.

We will ask you to help create your child’s “Aftercare plan” for the return home. If your child is in residential or inpatient care and you have resources in your home area to support robust ongoing care, we will work with you to evaluate all available treatment options.
We will explain how to monitor and support your child, including restroom use, as necessary. When your child returns home, if you suspect that your child is struggling with bingeing, purging, secret exercising or self-harming behaviors, please contact us.

Dealing with relapse

Should your loved one experience a relapse and need help at any time after discharge, please contact us. Here’s how.

Starting treatment and achieving full recovery is not a straight line. Your loved one may be in treatment more than once. Recovery may even take many years.
 
ERC supports family members throughout their loved ones’ journeys to recovery. Please consider joining our Eating Disorders Family Connection Facebook page. Family members can connect and support each other on the recovery journey together.

Maintaining hope

The road to recovery can be a long journey. We are with you for the long-term. At any point after discharge, if you need assistance or resources, please contact us. We will be here for you and will do our best to help you get the assistance that you need. Please don’t keep it inside; let us know if you need help.

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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.

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