F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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bconnelly Show full post »
Hi BConnelly

I'm so sorry that your d. and your family are having such a difficult time. I can speak a little about residential treatment since my d. was there for 3 months. She was in what I believe to be one of the best programs in the US.

It was a small program between 7 and 10 patients and probably just as many staff or more. There was excellent supervision (d. was on one to one for a while due to self-harm) and was not allowed to the bathroom after eating, and it is near where we live so we could attend her family therapy sessions in person and I could pop up to see her after work in the evening.

They were strict about eating. There was an excellent dietician who created the meal plans individually for each patient and made sure they had the number of calories they were prescribed. They were allowed some choices but all choices added up to the correct number of calories. First, they had a two-week phase where they got them used to eating again and increased calories by about 300 every 2-3 days. Then there was a weight gain phase which in her case lasted for 6 weeks where she was on 3700 calories a day and she was fully weight restored. After that, she stayed for another 6 weeks in what they call a maintenance stage, where she maintained that weight and continued with therapy and was allowed a little freedom to go off the unit, try eating in a restaurant, etc. Research has shown that if the patient is brought up to a BMI of over 20 and there is a maintenance stage included in residential treatment then there is a better possibility of recovery and that is what they did. The age group was such that my d. was one of the youngest at 18, and there were some older women there whose lives had really been ravaged by the illness and I think that frightened her and made her want to never have to be so ill as to have to be in residential treatment again. Somehow it became clear to her that if she doesn't eat she will die and she continues to eat to this day. Eating was and still can be excruciatingly difficult for her but she does it. (but not without some hiccups along the way of course)

There was a full schedule including different therapy modalities. She had multiple therapy sessions every week with dr.s who really helped to save her life. They were the absolute best I have come across in the ED field and we have been through many Drs. and therapists at this point.

So if I were you I might ask the treatment center some questions to try and see how to turn this around because you CAN help turn it around.
Can they supplement with ensure or boost? 
What happens if your d. does not complete a meal?
Are they making sure she cannot hide food at the meals?
When she is again ready for food choices can they only give her choices between things that are a similar amount of calories so that she cannot choose the lower one? 
Are they making sure that she is not purging after eating by supervising her for an hour or two after meals? 
Can they tighten up supervision when she takes her iron so that she is not spitting it out or cheeking it? 

It is good that your d. is admitting that she is purging and spitting out her iron...she cannot do this by herself and has found a way to get around the "system" so to speak but this lets you know how and where she needs support and which loopholes need to be closed up. Are you and your h. able to step in and talk with the staff and therapists/Drs. to discuss how things can be changed up so that d. cannot do these things and will start gaining weight? 

There was also a system of levels and privileges which helped to motivate d. When they first arrived they were restricted to the unit and had no cell phone, etc. (although there were phones and computers in public areas which they could use and plenty of visiting hours) As they completed their meals and made weight, they were encouraged to apply to go to a higher "level" which could include more privileges. the Dr. had to approve the new level. So for example after being there for 2 weeks and eating all her meals, she could apply to go to a level which allowed her to go outside in the little yard with other patients in the morning after breakfast. And later at an even higher level, she could go out of the hospital on field trips with other patients on the weekend to visit a museum or go to a park. Also if she did not complete a meal in 30 minutes she could be restricted to the unit the next day and if she did not make her weight or self-harmed, she could be dropped down to a lower level again and have to work her way up all over again. 

I promise you that it can get better although it can be a long horrible journey. D. is at school again and doing well socially and academically. Yesterday morning she said: mom I'm doing really well and I wouldn't be where I am now without you and I love you."

best wishes,

Haven't been on here for a while - my now 16 year old daughter (her birthday is today!) has been in residential treatment for just over 10 months. Today she started the transition phase of the program to try and slowly reintegrate her back into society. She will be attending school 3 days a week - and with us 5 days - and back at the unit Sunday night until Tuesday night. School is on board to support her part time status. So I dropped her off this morning - she was beaming.

She came on vacation with us the end of August (we did small road trips as she had to check back into the unit every 3-4 days) and finally we all saw her again - our daughter that's been missing for 2 years. She was happy - she was funny - she ate ice cream without question at a ball game - she asked me to buy her a 2 piece swimsuit that made her look her age - and not the suit she usually wore that made her look 8 years old - she engaged with her siblings - she sat down and watched a movie with us -she was back. Thank God. I've missed her.

We still have a long road ahead - school might prove to be too much - she still needs to gain 3 lbs to be weight restored - she is still socially behind her peers - her relationship with her peers is stressed still - we still can't trust her yet - but she is on her way.  If things don't go well - she'll spend weekends and Monday/Tuesday at the unit - and only 3 days with us - so there is a plan in case this doesn't go the way she wants it too.

The difference in her his unbelievable. 

She wants her life back - she wants her friends back - she wants to see her dog every day - get a job - drive a car - and she finally realized that fighting treatment was the thing that was keeping those things from her. Not us. Not "them".

So for those of you struggling - know that there is hope.  Yes my daughter had to be away from us for 10 months to get there and we've missed her terribly - it was worth it. 

We're hoping back home with us full time by semester 2 of her grade 11 year. Fingers crossed.

Good luck all!
This is wonderful news!  Congratulations to what you've done. Can I ask what residential program she has been at?

19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
How wonderful.

I savour all these sorts of little things every day too.

Warm wishes

2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.

What great news! So happy to hear that your daughter is doing so much better.

So wonderful to hear this news!  Wishing your d and your family continued successes on the road to full recovery!

It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
First, your last post (2017, long ago now I know) brought tears to my eyes. I don't know if you're still active on FEAST or if you're still getting these notifications, but if you are, I am wondering if the 10 months your daughter spent in the residential program was at Ontario Shores? If so, my wife and I would very much like to ask if you'd be willing to talk even briefly about your experiences. A referral for our 15 year-old d with AN (5 years diagnosed now) has just been submitted for OS last week, and now we wait, worry, and collect all the information we can on the program. It's hard to find much in the way of trustworthy reviews out in the Google-sphere, so getting some perspective from those who have been through it would be of tremendous value. No worries and certainly no pressure if you'd rather not talk about it, but you're so far the first I've come across that has gone through that program and has posted about it within the past 2 years, so I'm reaching out. If you'd be willing to talk, we can find a way to do so 'off line'. Thanks in advance for considering.

Just got this message.

I am more than willing to talk to you about the program at Ontario Shores - offline is fine.

My daughter is well into recovery now - been in recovery for 2 years. She is 1/2 way through her first year at university and although still chock full of anxiety and on meds for depression, her ED symptoms has subsided (mostly). She is in a good place - just got a part time job at a pet store today 🙂

I honestly feel that the program at OS saved my daughter's life. I know it saved my family. She was there for one week less than a full year from December 16 of grade 10 until December 6 of grade 11. She was referred because she was completely out of control at home. She went from diagnosis to hospitalization in a matter of 10 days - two long hospital stays in 4 months - we had the police involved many times, she was admitted to a psych ward for suicidal tendencies - she then turned bulimic and became even more violent when we found out - to the point where this tiny creature was a danger to herself and to her family - hence the referral to OS. We could not help her - she needed more than we could give her. Didn't mean we failed - she just needed more than we could give. Her therapist said she was the most severe case in her 15 years of treating patients - so if OS can help my daughter - it can help yours.

Please feel free to reach out to me via email and we can set up a time to talk on the phone - or if you are within driving distance of me, we can meet up for a coffee to chat in person - I've met with and talked to a few parents - I'd be more than willing to help you out.

Good luck with finding your daughter the help she needs.

Let me know how you would like to talk,