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What to Expect at an Eating Disorders Appointment 

Please make sure the necessary blood work and tests are obtained from your health care provider and faxed to our office at 314-268-2716 prior to your appointment.

The goal of the appointment is to medically evaluate your child for an eating disorder and the medical complications of such a disorder. The visit will be conducted by one of our Adolescent Medicine team members: Dr. Dianne Elfenbein, Dr. Marianne Dunstan, Dr. Meghan Guerra or pediatric nurse practitioner Jenny Furtak. On average, the first visit will take about two hours. Follow-up appointments may be scheduled with any of the specialists.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow enough time to register. The clinic is located in the first-floor doctor's office area of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. Enter through the Main Entrance, check in, then take the elevator up to the first floor and make a left as you leave the elevator.

Upon arrival, a nurse will ask for a urine sample and ask your child to change into a hospital gown. Your child will then be weighed. We do not disclose weights to the child or parent, as this number can be difficult for some to hear. Your child will change back into regular clothes and be taken to an exam room. He or she will have blood pressure taken in the lying, sitting and standing positions. The doctor or nurse practitioner will begin the interview after these measurements are complete.

The doctor or nurse practitioner may order blood work or an electrocardiogram (EKG) after the medical interview/exam, and will discuss what type of treatment would best suit your child. There are different levels of treatment for eating disorders:

  • Outpatient Treatment: Referrals to individual therapists, dietitians and psychiatrist (if needed) in the community. Medical follow-up in Eating Disorder clinic.
  • Inpatient Medical Stabilization: Admission to SSM Cardinal Glennon to stabilize medical complications (such as low blood pressure, extreme weight loss, etc.) and begin the process of refeeding. After stabilization, another program is chosen to continue treatments.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Structured outpatient programs about three to fours hours per day that incorporate group and individual therapy as well as meals. Individualized medical follow-up.
  • Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP): Structured outpatient programs about six to 12 hours per day that incorporate group and individual therapy as well as meals. Medical follow-up is individualized.
  • Residential Treatment: Structured programs that are 24 hours a day that incorporate medical surveillance as well as various types of therapies and refeeding programs. These are usually for medically stable patients.

Please contact us at 314-268-6406 if you have any questions prior to your visit.


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