When to refer a patient to The Emily Program
As with other mental and physical disorders, a healthcare professional must recognize the signs of a problem or potential problem, and then intervene effectively. If you suspect food, body image, weight, and/or eating issues, the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Psychiatric Association suggest that you act quickly.
Know the common eating disorder symptoms
Use the common symptoms list and simple screening tool below. We also offer educational events to help your team screen for eating disorders, understand their effects, and access available treatment resources.
Eating disorders present physiologically and behaviorally. The multidisciplinary team at The Emily Program recommends checking for common symptoms, such as:
- Dramatic weight gain or loss
- Verbal preoccupation with food, weight, and shape
- Medical complications, such as amenorrhea, bradycardia, unexpected osteopenia or osteoporosis, electrolyte abnormalities, low body temperature, orthostatic hypotension
- Rapid or persistent decline or increase in food intake
- Purging; restricting; binge eating; compulsive eating; compulsive exercising; abuse of diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or emetics
- Denial of food and eating problems, despite concerns of others
- Eating in secret, hiding food, disrupting family meals, feeling out of control with food
Start the conversation
Ask if it is okay to discuss eating habits: “I’m concerned about your eating (or weight, body image, etc.). May we discuss how you typically eat and your relationship with food?”
Then ask your patient these 6 questions:
- Do you feel like you sometimes lose or have lost control over how you eat?
- Do you ever make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Do you believe yourself to be fat, even when others say you are too thin?
- Do food or thoughts about food dominate your life?
- Do thoughts about changing your body and/or your weight dominate your life?
- Have others become worried about your weight and/or eating?
Two or more “yes” answers strongly indicate the presence of disordered eating. (Adapted from SCOFF Questionnaire by Morgan, Reid & Lacy-BMJ, 1999.)
To ensure your patient can get treatment as soon as possible, they will be connected with a Clinical Admissions Specialist, who will conduct a phone intake within 48 hours of the initial call, determine the level of care, schedule an admit date and start the process to secure medical data and arrange any necessary lodging.
To stay informed of your patient’s progress throughout their eating disorder treatment, ask them to complete a Release of Information form so we have permission share health information with you.
Talk with the experts at The Emily Program
The Emily Program staff is available to assist. Call us at 1-888-364-5977, use our online referral form, or send your patient to our website to request an eating disorder assessment.