I had the pleasure of seeing Laureate Eating Disorder Treatment Center first hand. I was impressed with the fact that it is part of St. Francis Medical Center, which gives it so many advantages with collaboration and research with the field of Eating disorders.
The Center Itself
The eating disorder treatment center and other medical buildings look more like a college campus than a series of hospitals. There are rolling hills and curvy walkways to get between the buildings, along with trees and a waterfall.
In addition, there is an acute center where the women who have serious medical issues due to their eating disorders can be until they can transition to residential treatment. And no matter their level of care, acute, residential or partial, they have the same staff, so there is no need to readjust to a new therapist or doctor.
This is no one-size fit all approach. As a matter of fact, each person’s treatment is individualized based on what her personal struggles are. Again, this is not everyone getting the same exact treatment.
Another thing that stood out was the family week for adolescents. During this time, the family is educated on eating disorders and how they can help their loved one. No parent knows how to treat an eating disorder and it is often times misunderstood. Many factors play into maintaining the illness, and parents learn how they can best support and help their child.
Everything was planned in mind with the person struggling with the eating disorder. When they built the kitchen and dining area, they put it in a separate building, so the girls and women would need to walk on the winding walkways and be in nature, as a way to process after their meal. Obviously mealtime would be one of the most stressful times.
In addition, we met the chef, Buck. I was so impressed by his level of care for the women he serves. His kitchen is separate from the main hospital, and he only cooks for the eating disorder center, which is housed in it’s own building. He had said that he used to be a country club, fancy meal kind of chef. Yet when he made the transition to the ED he had no idea how these girls would humble him. He appears to care about the people and became choked up when talking about them and their struggles. This just shows the level of care of the personnel.
There is also Magnolia House, which is a transitional level of care at the eating disorder treatment center. After the girls are done with residential, they can have 30 days free at Magnolia house, or stay on longer and pay. It impressed me that Laureate is a nonprofit. In this transitional level of care, they cook for themselves, and they still have some treatment, as the goal is to teach these women how to live and cook in the real world.
The education level of the staff is impressive. We sat in several different lectures, and they have a wide array of knowledge. What came across amongst all the professionals were not only their intelligence, but also the level of care and compassion they had towards their patients. One thing that stuck out was that there is a 1:3 therapist-to-patient ratio. Thus each individual gets a high level of care.
Another advantage Laureate Eating Disorder Treatment center has is their Institute for Brain Research. Dr. Moseman collaborates with them studying the neurobiology of eating disorders. Dr. Moseman was impressive while discussing research and the ways in which each persons brain wires when it comes to eating disorders. So little is know how the brain affects eating disorders. Yet, if one knows which areas of the brain are triggered, then each person’s treatment can be individualized based on how their brain works.
I would highly recommend Laureate if you or someone you know needs residential treatment. If you are looking for outpatient level of care, please give me a call at 713-304-6554, and we will come up with a treatment plan that is right for you.