Chairperson’s Message Update

The Foundation Meets with the Minister of Health and Continues its Efforts for an Inpatient Eating Disorder Intensive Care Program

The Foundation met with the Minister of Health last week to continue our discussion for an Inpatient Program for our eating disorder families. It was a very good and productive session and hopefully it contributed to our ongoing efforts for such a program; the Minister is listening. Please see the below Justification Case for an Inpatient Program which we presented to the Minister for his consideration. It  certainly appears there is now total consensus amongst eating disorder stakeholders that such a program is needed. I would ask our eating disorder families to discuss the need for this program with your MHA’s and other healthcare leadership officials as they need to better understand the inpatient healthcare needs for eating disorder families. The personal stories are helping, please continue to do what you can to help us achieve a more positive outcome. We are making good progress and I am optimistic that in time we will be successful.


Vince Withers
Chairperson, EDFNL


The Need

The implementation of a dedicated and specialized Eating Disorder Inpatient Intensive Care Program


Efforts to Date


  • Proactive Priority One for the past 4 years for Eating Disorder Foundation of NL
  • Discussions and proposals have been held with
  • Numerous Ministers of Health and Community Services
  • Eastern Health Senior Leadership
  • Other Ministers for their support
  • Department of Health and Community Services Senior officials
  • Emails to all 48 MHA’s for support
  • Discussed with the Premier

Three successful Roundtables have been held by Health and Community Services with 25+ participants (families, stakeholders, healthcare leadership etc.).

Formal proposal made to Minister of Department of Health and Community Services November 2012.

Many meetings, speeches, workshops held to discuss the need for an Inpatient Program.

We believe there is now a total consensus amongst stakeholders on the need for an Inpatient Program.


The Ever Changing Demographics of Eating Disorders

  • 80% Women – 20% Men
  • More younger children experiencing eating disorders, a recent Canadian Health Information Agency study of 1500 inpatient clients revealed that about 50% were pre-teens, many below 10 years.
  • More women in mid thirties and mid sixties experiencing higher rates of eating disorders. Increases are in the 20-30% range.
  • A significant increase in requests for support is happening at all treatment locations, Eating Disorder Foundation of NL has seen a dramatic increase in families seeking assistance as has the Hope and Janeway treatment centres.
  • It is estimated that between 10-15% of adolescents are experiencing some form of disordered eating/eating disorder.
  • All available research confirms that eating disorders are a worldwide health crisis and well increase aggressively unless and until we adopt a more responsive, dedicated and specialized treatment focus.


Justification for Inpatient Program

Facts to Consider

  • No such program exists in any form in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Little or no professional staff available with Eating Disorder specialized training at RHA’s.
  • Increasing numbers of families requiring inpatient treatment resulting from increased awareness.
  • Current treatment options available are embarrassingly inadequate.
  • Sending families to Psych Units for extended periods of time is counterproductive as Units are not able to provide dedicated and specialized eating disorder treatment services (primary care service mostly).
  • For example several families in recent times have spent in excess of 2000+ days in Psych Units with little or no recovery outcomes (at $1500 a day).
  • Sending families to Homewood in Guelph, Ontario, while helpful, is very costly and with limited family support options.
  • An Inpatient Program would serve as a Provincial Program and would be able to coordinate overall treatment activities with the existing outpatient Hope and Janeway Programs.
  • Today on average we are sending about 15 family members a year out of province for treatment at a cost of $50,000+ per client. Many have returned to Homewood for second and third treatment follow-ups due to relapses.
  • Over the past 8 years assuming an average of 12 clients per year we have spent some $4.8 million in out of province treatments.
  • The fatality rate for eating disorders, if not treated early, is 20% without specialized intensive care treatment.
  • We are spending millions of dollars on stopgap intervention treatment services with little or no recovery possibilities.
  • Eating Disorders are in the early stages of understanding and awareness; we need to be ready for a significant longer-term growth in eating disorders as predicted by professionals and available research data.
  • Eating Disorders have the highest death rate of all Mental Health and Addictions.
  • Without an inpatient program we can expect much higher and more critical relapse rates.



  • The rate of growth in eating disorders will eventually demand/need an inpatient program, why not now while the opportunity exists to get in front of this pending health crisis.
  • Early intervention and a prevention focus is clearly the most efficient and cost effective solution for longer-term recovery outcomes.
  • The current treatment services are totally inadequate and are costing the healthcare system millions of dollars with very little to show it in terms of successful recovery outcomes.
  • The implementation of an Inpatient Program coupled with the successful Outpatient Program at HOPE and Janeway clearly is the most effective and efficient and desired treatment model if we are to provide our eating disorder families with a more reasonable and fair opportunity for recovery.
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