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Accrediting body offers more detail on eating disorders standards

August 22, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Aware of the precarious state of patients being treated for an eating disorder, The Joint Commission this month released additional in-depth information related to the eating disorders standards that took effect in the accrediting organization in January. The standards apply to eating disorders treatment programs in residential and outpatient settings.

The R3 Report's rationale section states, “Individuals who are served by residential and outpatient eating disorders programs require both behavioral and physical health care, treatment, or services; they can be very fragile.” The Joint Commission states that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any behavioral health disorder.

The rationale section reiterates that The Joint Commission established the standards in part because many field professionals were communicating that not all eating disorders programs were applying sufficient rigor to their services.

This month's report cites several references that were pivotal to the accrediting organization in the development of the standards, including the American Psychiatric Association's practice guideline for eating disorder treatment and a practice parameter for youth treatment published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The Joint Commission's eating disorders standards cover several important clinical areas, such as:

  • Treatment planning, including a requirement that plans cite a specific diagnosis and incorporate sufficient nutritional rehabilitation.

  • Coordination of care, particularly to cover instances when a patient has to be transferred to a hospital during treatment (some hospitals don't have protocols for addressing eating disorders).

  • Additional services, which should encompass medical, nutritional, psychiatric and psychosocial components.

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