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Your First Day:
What to Expect

teens eating disorder treatment center
Be proud of yourself for having the strength and courage to be here right now — supporting your loved one in eating disorder treatment. You are making a huge difference by supporting your loved one on the journey to recovery.
 
Here is what to expect when your loved one arrives for treatment.

Arriving at the treatment center: what to know

When patients arrive for care at our center, they are greeted by a member of our ERC staff. Our staff are trained to provide the support and care each patient needs as they enter treatment.
 
Most patients have a similar schedule for their first day although individual experiences do vary by location and level of care.
 
On the first day of treatment your loved one is provided with support to help them become familiar with the eating disorder treatment center, to feel safe and supported and settled in.
 
If you are the parent of a child or adolescent in eating disorder treatment, you will be involved in the intake process and will also be able to meet with members of the treatment team, attend an orientation, and attend meals and groups.

Determining the length of treatment

You may wonder how long your loved one might be in our care. The journey to recovery is different for each person. We can tell you that key markers of recovery include the following:
 
Medical stability — We want to see that a patient’s body weight is within an ideal weight range and that they are able to take in the required amount of nutrition to sustain a healed, healthy body, without significant struggle. The time in treatment tends to be longer for people who are at low weight, and for who have medical complications related to the illness.
 
Mental/Emotional stability — All distressing and harmful behaviors and any serious or acute mood disturbances will need to be understood and treated. Behaviors including starvation, purging, binging, excessive exercise, substance use and self-harm have been functioning to help your loved one cope with, or avoid, difficult feelings and thoughts. The paradox is that these things that once served to help them cope eventually become a serious problem in their own right. Recovery involves being in a controlled, supportive environment, where they know they are not being judged or critiqued. In treatment, your loved one can gain some space from all the stresses of daily living to gain awareness, perspective and clarity. They need to learn and master skills to help them regulate their mood and nervous system, without the need of using harmful behaviors.
 
At times, insurance companies have different criteria and standards for how long your loved one can remain in treatment. We work closely with third party payers, but, ultimately, if you are using insurance for your treatment, they have the final say regarding the length of stay. Having said that, more often than not, we are in full agreement with insurance providers regarding treatment plans and length of stay. And, if a situation occurs where we are not in alignment, our dedicated business office staff will be in touch with you to answer your questions and help you if you should need to advocate with your insurance providers.
 
Learn more about insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment.
 
The length of stay is very personalized and individualized. However, we know people want to have an idea of a time frame. Therefore, if we remove the time frame for our very sickest patients, and our least sick patients, we see that the average length of stay is six to eight weeks.

Where to stay

Families choose to travel from near and far so that their loved ones can get the best care possible at ERC. We recognize how stressful and overwhelming this can be.

We provide Travel Concierge Services to assist our out-of-town patients and families. An ERC Concierge Services Representative is available to assist you with a wide variety of needs before and during treatment.

While your loved one is in care, we often suggest that friends and family members return home, care for yourself and your family, rest and restore. But we also understand that every individual is different and personal circumstances vary. Please communicate with the treatment team if you feel that you should be staying near your loved one’s treatment center. We will work with you to help you to make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Finding support for yourself

Not everyone understands what it’s like to have an eating disorder or a mental illness or to have a loved one who is sick. But by sharing your feelings and talking things out, it will help you feel more empowered and less alone.
 
It can be helpful to attend ERC’s support groups, Family Days programming and other educational opportunities so that you can share your experience with other parents and families that understand exactly what you are going through.
 

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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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