Objective: Because recent limitations in health care coverage have resulted in shorter lengths of inpatient stay, many patients with anorexia nervosa are discharged while still underweight. The authors' goal was to determine whether anorectic patients who were underweight when they were discharged had a worse outcome and a higher rate of rehospitalization than those who had achieved normal weight at discharge.
Method: They assessed weight and height, eating disorder symptoms, and severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms in 22 women with anorexia nervosa at hospital admission and at follow-up a mean of 29 months after discharge.
Results: Anorectic patients who were discharged while severely underweight reported significantly higher rates of rehospitalization and endorsed more symptoms than those who had achieved normal weight before discharge.
Conclusions: These data suggest that brief hospitalization for severely underweight women with anorexia may not be cost effective because the majority are rehospitalized.