This program was created through a new partnership between London Children’s Hospital and the Vanier Children’s Mental Wellness. It is aimed at children aged 6 to 13 in the region who are suffering from these disorders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of beds available is therefore increased from 4 to 8, and a nurse practitioner will share her interventions between the two organizations, thanks to a grant of just under $1 million from the provincial government.

This would be the first initiative of its kind in Canada. The intensive program is called step-by-step care. It allows patients, who are transferred to a community setting once stabilized in hospital, to continue their social activities, or to go to school.

Unlike most eating disorder programs that target teens, this one targets children ages 6 to 13, with the idea that early intervention can help prevent the disorder from coming back. food later in life, says Kelly Simpson, executive director of the Vanier Children’s Mental Wellness.

The program is bolstered as there are many reports of an increase in eating disorders among young people since the start of the pandemic. This increase is attributed to the confinements which have upset the rhythms of life, including attendance at schools, the socialization of young people and the practice of sports.

A long waiting list since the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for hospital care for eating disorders in children and young adolescents has skyrocketed, according to local health officials, who say they are unable to meet all the demands. .

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The hospital can’t do much. We only have a limited capacity, a limited spacesaid Lynanne Mason, director of pediatric inpatient, outpatient and regional health integration at London Children’s Hospital.

This is the first time in history that we actually have a waiting list for treatment and we don’t want a child to have to wait.she explains.

According to Mason, healthcare workers have managed to whittle that list down by 100 over the past few months, but there are still 200 children and teens in the area awaiting treatment for eating disorders.

It’s sadshe says. Clinicians are grappling with this and doing what they can to provide care. It’s something we have to sort out.

a distinct approach

The program in question makes it possible to reduce the time spent in the hospital, by transferring its young patients to a chalet in the Vanier Children’s Mental Wellnesswhich offers a community framework.

It is an environment where there is a lot of structure, security, the children will be involved in their regular activities of daily living, they will be able to go to school, perhaps the community school where they come fromsays Kelly Simpson.

It’s almost a way to get them back and set them up for success to go back with their families.she adds.

The program also allows clinicians to work with the entire family of patients, offer group therapy, and teach parents and siblings how to better support the child struggling with an eating disorder.

According to Ms. Simpson, working with the families facilitates the success of the program when the children return home, as it provides a structure that each family member can work with once the home is reintegrated.

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If a patient needs more care, they can return to the hospital and, once they are better, return to a community setting before finally going home.

With information from CBC’s Colin Butler

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