It’s time an inpatient program be provided for people in the province who require intense treatment for eating disorders, says the chairman of the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Vince Withers said the Hope program on Major’s Path in St. John’s, is an intensive care outpatient program that provides support for people, but the foundation is seeing a significant increase in the number of people with eating disorders who are seriously ill and require more intensive treatment.
“The foundation recognizes that while much progress has been made treating and supporting eating disorders, there is clearly a critical need to address this much-needed inpatient service,” he said in a recent news release.
Withers said the foundation has submitted a proposal for a dedicated six-bed inpatient adult program to the minister of Health and Community Services.
The current treatment process for those requiring inpatient treatment is through the psychiatry unit at the Health Sciences Centre.
Withers said while that is helpful it is only a stopgap measure and generally results in frequent and unproductive visits to various health care facilities.
“The cost of providing such a specialized unit can easily be offset by the significant costs currently being incurred in these stop gap treatment processes,” he said.
Based on a 2005 census there were 8,000 people in the province suffering from eating disorders. The foundation has seen many families come forward as a result of awareness and promotion efforts and it is believed that number has increased dramatically.
The issue, says the release, is compounded by the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rates if not treated early among all mental illnesses.
“The foundation believes its proposal is a reasonable and a cost-effective solution to a recognized and accepted gap in service,” Withers said.
For further information, contact the foundation at 722-0500 or go to the website at edfnl.ca.