Overcoming Resistance to Treatment

When severe eating disorders become life-threatening, admitting to hospital-based medical stabilization can be a matter of life and death.   

In patients with these extreme forms of illness, resistance to care can be profoundly challenging for providers and families alike. An intervention may be necessary as an urgent response to an individual’s need for life-saving care.  


Collaboration with Interventionists

ACUTE is experienced and capable when working with intervention scenarios when identified as the receiving treatment center. 

  • ACUTE collaborates with highly trained eating disorder interventionists whose role is to support the patient and family, meet the demands of the situation and pre-arrange admission to ACUTE. ACUTE’s admissions team can provide information about these skilled interventionists should that be helpful at the time of assessment.
  • ACUTE’s admissions teams work seamlessly with interventionists to ensure insurance pre-authorization and air-ambulance transport (if necessary).
  • For gravely disabled patients, ACUTE can support interventionists in securing a Mental Health Hold, a rare medico-legal intervention that can save lives in the direst of circumstances.
  • The ACUTE unit accepts admissions seven days per week. It is critically important that patients be able to admit immediately upon agreeing to treatment to increase the likelihood of successful admission and treatment.
  • Patients receive world-class, evidence-based medical stabilization, as well as behavioral support to address their eating disorder.
  • During medical stabilization, ACUTE’s clinical teams collaborate with the interventionist, family and receiving treatment center to support compassionate transitions and long-term healing.

When is an Eating Disorder Intervention Necessary?

In general, an eating disorder intervention, with ACUTE as the receiving treatment center, may be necessary when:  

  • The patient has a BMI < 15
  • The patient is experiencing life-threatening medical complications from their eating disorder
  • The patient has been refused admission by residential treatment centers for being too medically complex
  • The patient is experiencing extreme cognitive impairment from malnutrition
  • The patient is resisting treatment despite dangerous medical issues

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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