"Treatment for Eating Disorder"

About: Joondalup Health Campus Perth Children's Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

My child has been sick and hospitalised several times in 3 years.

I am grateful there is a Eating Disorder Program at Perth Children's Hospital. PCH is sometimes reluctant to accept 16+ patients.

I understand that Anorexia Nervosa is one of the mental illnesses more difficult to treat and also the one with more mortality.

I am a parent that cares, we are a family that cares and want their child recovered and blooming as part of a productive society.

I am not looking for someone or an institution to take care of my child. I am looking for a collaborative treatment to heal my child.

We live north of the river, our local hospital is Joondalup. I called to ask for the eating disorder treatment doctor in charge and nobody knows about it. 

I looked online for eating disorder services and there are none.

When my child stops eating they are in denial that they are ok to live without eating. 

What do we do to keep our child alive when they are asking to leave them to die?

I feel frustrated.

Responses

Response from Brendon Burns, Deputy Director of Clinical Services - Speciality Services, Executive, Joondalup Health Campus

Dear junezx44,

I’m sorry to hear of your ongoing battle with your child’s eating disorder.

We would like to make contact with you as we can certainly look into your concerns and provide you with some clarity around the services that Joondalup Health Campus can provide.

Our Consumer Liaison Team are available to be contacted directly on 9400 9672 during the week Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm or alternatively you can email consumerliaison.jhc@ramsayhealth.com.au and Alison or Sarah will make contact with you to further discuss your concerns.

Kind regards

Brendon Burns

Deputy Director of Clinical Services

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Response from Aresh Anwar, Chief Executive, Child and Adolescent Health Service

picture of Aresh Anwar

Dear junezx44

Thank you for sharing your frustrations about the care available to your child.

The Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS) Eating Disorders Program (EDP) and community mental health services are available to patients up to the age of 18 years. However, PCH is commissioned to admit patients up until their sixteenth birthday only. PCH has an overage admission policy and process in place to facilitate the admission of overage patients when clinically appropriate, however, two youth mental health units have recently opened in Perth to provide dedicated, specialist mental health care for young people aged 16 to 24.

If a young person is 16 years or over and a current EDP patient, they will continue to receive outpatient and follow up care from the EDP while an inpatient at youth or adult hospital facilities if needed. We have also recently instigated a review of the eating disorders program across the whole continuum of care to explore how we can improve our service. This review and validation process is scheduled for completion by October 2019. I will ensure your feedback provided here forms part of this review.

I do appreciate that you need a more rapid response. Can I therefore ask if you could make contact with me on 6456 3277 and I will ensure that we provide guidance regarding potential pathways/steps that you can use?

Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience. Please accept my best wishes for your child.

Kind regards

Dr Aresh Anwar
Chief Executive
Child and Adolescent Health Service

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Update posted by junezx44 (a parent/guardian)

Hi,

Sorry I took too long to reply. I appreciate the information received and the follow up by email (Joondalup Hospital) and conversation with Dr Aresh Anwar.

I also have been in email communication with WA Eating Disorders Outreach and Consultation Service (WAEDOCS), which don't deal with the members of the community, they only advice services when they are contacted. Hopefully more hospitals around the state will contact them.

After researching the medical system for treatment of eating disorders in WA for over 16+ (specifically admission if needed), I can only find one place which can provide medical and psych if needed (Fiona Stanley Hospital with only 2 beds). There is no similar service as the one my child has received in Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) since 2016.

The truth is that a transition to adult services really does not exist for the treatment of eating disorder in WA for over 16+ or 18+ in the public system and unfortunately one of the major characteristics of Restrictive Anorexia Nervosa (RAN) is Anosognosia, incapacity to see they are ill and in the need of treatment and care.

I am disappointed and angry (though my child has been lucky for now) that PCH will not deal with 16+ eating disorder patients if they need admission. This is not just for my child but for the cohort of children with eating disorder that most likely will not be cured by 16.

I know some reviews of the model of eating disorder treatment are under way, though I need to know when exactly those services are going to be in place, as we are not in the catchment area for Fiona Stanley Hospital. Plus, I can't afford to wait to treat my child if they need a more intensive care that I will not be able to provide at home.

Regards

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