Clinical practice guidelines for treating restrictive eating disorder patients during medical hospitalization

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2008 Aug;20(4):390-7. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32830504ae.


Purpose of review: Anorexia nervosa is a life-threatening complex psychiatric disorder that often requires patients to be medically hospitalized. In order to help provide consistent high-quality care to inpatients medically hospitalized for nutritional deficiency, a clinical practice guideline for these patients was created at Children's Hospital Boston. This paper reviews essential components of the clinical practice guideline for patients with restrictive eating disorders.

Recent findings: There is considerable variability in admission practices, inpatient treatment and discharge criteria for patients with anorexia nervosa. Weight restoration is one critical factor in treatment, and research suggests that some medical complications are reversible with weight restoration. Weight gain during hospitalization is associated with better short-term outcomes, which indicate patients are continuing toward recovery. However, patients must be closely monitored during nutritional rehabilitation to avoid complications.

Summary: The clinical practice guideline for patients with restrictive eating disorders outlines the care patients receive during the course of their hospitalization. The clinical practice guideline has been effective in helping patients to meet weight-gain goals. Clinical practice guideline outcome data could be used to compare protocols on a national level and help establish best practices for the inpatient medical treatment for these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / standards
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*