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Eating Disorder Program

Akron Children's Hospital's team of adolescent medicine physicians, registered dietitian, psychologists and clinical nurse specialists helps children, teens and young adults manage disordered eating behaviors and establish new patterns of thinking about and approaching food. Together, we restore physical and emotional health through balanced nutrition, addressing body image issues and giving patients the coping skills they need to overcome eating disorders.

Timely, specialized care.

Early recognition and treatment of eating disorders are essential. Children and teens who are treated at a younger age typically experience better outcomes, including shorter illness duration and less severe medical complications such as cardiovascular problems, anemia, kidney dysfunction and osteoporosis.

New patients of our eating disorder program receive a thorough examination, psychological evaluation and nutrition assessment. We may also perform testing such as lab work to check for anemia, hormonal changes or other concerns and bone scans to evaluate bone health. We make recommendations to you immediately following the evaluation. 

Every patient is unique. We will provide customized resources once your child is accepted into the eating disorder program. Until that time, here are some reputable sources of information:

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders (FEAST)

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Outpatient care.

Our outpatient services may reduce the need for extended stays in residential treatment programs. We focus on helping your family learn the skills you need to manage an eating disorder at home.

In addition to managing medical concerns, outpatient treatment includes mental health therapy with a child and adolescent psychologist or other licensed mental health specialist. Our mental health specialists use proven therapies in treating eating disorders, including family, individual and group therapy.

Our patients also benefit from a registered dietitian who specializes in treating eating disorders. She will develop a healthy, balanced meal plan that's customized to your child's individual recovery goals. She will also counsel you on behavioral and lifestyle changes to improve long-term eating habits and health, and continually monitor and evaluate your child's progress.

Inpatient care.

If your child requires more support and structure than an outpatient program can provide, we will assist with a smooth admission to our medical inpatient unit or in finding appropriate care through a residential treatment program.

Department Main Image

Locations

Contact Eating Disorder Program

330-543-8538

Location Small Image
Eating Disorders Program
Akron Children's Hospital Eating Disorders Program
Considine Professional Building
215 West Bowery Street
Level 3
Akron, Ohio 44302
Fax: 330-543-3687
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Map & directions

Our Doctors/Providers

Department Heads:
Jessica Castonguay
Jessica Castonguay, DO, MPH

Medical Director, Eating Disorders Program; Adolescent Medicine Specialist

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Physicians/Providers:

Krista Caldwell, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist

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Elizabeth Mason, MD

Adolescent Medicine Specialist

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Adriana Nevado, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist

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Stephen Sondike, MD, FAAP, FSAHM

Division Director, Division of Adolescent Medicine; Adolescent Medicine Specialist

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Other Providers:

Lindsay Bailey, MS, RD, LD, CDE, CEDRD

Registered Dietitian; Certified Diabetes Educator; Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian

Kristin Hauck, RDN, LD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Intensive Outpatient Program

Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Akron Children’s Divisions of Adolescent Medicine and Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology offer inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient levels of care. When traditional outpatient care does not lead to medical stabilization, patients are admitted to the inpatient unit for medical stabilization. Families and patients needing support beyond weekly outpatient appointments will be recommended to the IOP, which aids in improving structure, coping strategies and parenting skills that can lead to improved outcomes for your child.

Program Benefits

The IOP follows two core principles: 

  1. The cause of eating disorders is unknown.
  2. The family is a vital team member in combating this disorder. 

Therefore, the goal of the program will be to assist your family in the development of skills that will help you challenge the eating disorder and work toward eating disorder recovery. We also aim to empower caregivers to address and change factors maintaining the eating disorder. 

As such, teens and their caregiver(s) participate in groups that include topics on coping strategies, challenging eating disorder cognitions, values identification, communication skills and meal support. Groups are led by our mental health team including psychologists and mental health therapists, with a weekly medical check completed by nursing staff and reviewed by an Adolescent Medicine physician. During IOP, patients are expected to meet with their outpatient treatment team - physician, dietitian, therapist - in addition to their participation in programming. Medical monitoring will take place once per week, and regular medical checks are expected during program.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Medical stability, to the extent that frequent monitoring of existing condition is not required. 
  • Parents or child is requiring increased support or having trouble meeting nutritional needs and/or coping with distress of treatment 
  • Failing to complete at least 80% of nutrition during an inpatient admission without supplementation. 
  • Recent discharge from a residential facility in which a higher level of care was recommended upon discharge. 
  • Weight is in a range deemed appropriate enough to not indicate a need for a higher level of care. 
  • No significant changes in weight in recent weeks or difficulties maintaining an appropriate weight. 
  • Fair motivation for change and willingness to participate in a group program aimed toward eating disorder recovery.   
  • Co-occurring conditions that may be impairing and exacerbating eating disorder symptoms and indicate need for more structure.
  • School-aged adolescent, 12-17 years of age. 
  • Able to contract for safety.
  • At least one caregiver can commit to participating in programming every multifamily day for the duration of IOP. 
  • Currently engaged in treatment with an outpatient physician, dietitian and behavioral health provider to address eating disorder symptoms. 


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