What to expect in the hospital eating disorders (1654)

Key points below

Your child is in the hospital because they have hurt their body from not eating right.  As your child gets the food they need, your child’s medical problems will get better and return to normal. This includes heart rate, blood pressure and blood levels.   Once these medical problems improve, your child will be discharged to get mental health treatment outside of the hospital.

How Long Will Your Child Stay?

It will depend on how stable their health problems are.  Most often, the stay is 5 to 7 days. Once medically stable and discharged, we will continue to help with treatment for the eating disorder. We plan for discharge as early as possible.  Sometimes programs and providers may have wait lists before your child can be seen.

Goals of the Hospital Admission

Treatment Components

Team Members

Vital Signs

Staff will check your child’s vital signs each morning before getting out of bed and as needed throughout their stay.  This includes heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure.


Your child will be weighed once daily in the morning with their back to the scale. Specific weights and calorie information will not be shared with your child.  This information can be shared with parents outside the room.

Meals and Snacks

15 minutes for snacks, 30 minutes for meals and 15 minutes for supplements

Activity Levels

Based on your child’s medical condition (vital signs and symptoms), your child will be placed on one of these activity levels:

Level 1:

Level 2:

Level 3:

Level 4:


We provide a strict behavior plan to help your child to meet their own eating goals. Treatment will begin with these general guidelines.  Early in their stay, we will make plans to give your child privileges as they improve.

Resources for Families

Book suggestions for parents:

Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder, by James Lock & Daniel Le Grange 

Eating with Your Anorexic: A Mother’s Memoir, by Laura Collins

Book suggestions for teens:

Life without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer (for persons with anorexia, 14 years or older)

The Body Image Workbook for Teens, by Julia Taylor 
(for teens with negative perceptions of their body or appearance)