Walden’s Continuum of Care for Treating Adolescents
Importance of Family During Treatment and Recovery
The Adolescent Continuum at Walden Behavioral Care
Our adolescent continuum of care acknowledges that recovery happens over a period of time. Regardless of the level of care, our goal is to understand where an adolescent is on the journey to recovery and to meet his or her needs while encouraging continued movement towards restoring overall health.
Walden’s philosophy of care is built on the notion that the family, however defined, is the agent of change for any adolescent. For this reason, daily contact with families by our multidisciplinary team, extended family visiting hours, family meal coaching, weekly family meetings and parent skills groups are incorporated into all levels of adolescent treatment.
Adolescents in need of medical stabilization or highly structured 24-hour care to interrupt eating disorder behaviors are treated in our inpatient adolescent program. This program incorporates evidence-based treatments to prepare adolescents and families for the lower levels of care. These treatments gradually increase family involvement in meal coaching and supervision in order to provide families a sense of mastery and support in their child’s transition to home or to a lower level of care.
Specialized Adolescent Team
Medical and nutritional interventions are at the forefront of this level of care while behavioral health treatments are in place to help support progress in these areas. The specialized treatment team in the Alcott Adolescent Eating Disorder Program consists of psychiatric nurse practitioner, dietitians, nursing,therapists, clinicians and mental health counselors who are motivated to work with the adolescents and who are specially trained to meet the unique needs of this population. The designated adolescent team allows for consistency in care and communication both within the inpatient unit and between levels of care and locations. This enhances our team approach to treatment and, in turn, the quality of care for patients and families.
The adolescent treatment team extends beyond those serving on the hospital unit to include specialists at various levels of care who may provide pertinent consultation on cases. Among these are multidisciplinary providers at various clinics, the director of adolescent services and the chief medical officer. Consultations across levels of care, clinic sites and with providers of varying expertise allow for innovative treatment for adolescents struggling with this illness and for consistency in recommendations.
Residential treatment serves a multitude of purposes for clients in our care. It is structured to provide 24-hour support for adolescents and families who are struggling to manage their eating disorder outside of daily treatment hours. It also benefits those who are in need of a slower reintegration into their lives after a hospital inpatient stabilization. This level of care allows for intensive family work outside of the home environment. These efforts include family therapy, parent education and parent skills groups with the goal of increasing the resources and support an adolescent has for recovery outside of treatment. Medical oversight, medication management and dietary education and interventions remain a central focus at this level of care. We begin to more intensively layer interventions beyond just the biological to include increased attention to the psychological and social aspects of the recovery process. Given that this treatment removes an adolescent from the demands of daily living, programming in life skills is of the utmost importance in order to reduce risk of relapse upon the transition to the home, school and social environments.
Specialized Adolescent Team
This specialized, integrated adolescent treatment team in our PHP includes a psychiatric nurse practitioner, dietitian, family therapist and mental health counselors. Previous caregivers within Walden, as well as outpatient providers, remain consultants to ongoing treatment.
Partial hospital care provides support for adolescents and families who would benefit from a daytime therapeutic structure that interrupts eating disorder behaviors at various points along the path to recovery. It also serves as transitional support for adolescents returning home after treatment at one of our 24-hour level of care programs. Our PHP complements the mission of our other levels of care and promotes family participation and empowerment over the eating disorder. This program provides weekly family therapy sessions, two weekly coached family meals, and two weekly group sessions designed to educate and prepare families for regaining control over the eating disorder in the home setting. Direct adolescent care is designed to promote skills and improve communication within the family system. In addition, this level of care provides medication and nutritional consultations and oversight for the adolescent and family.
Specialized Adolescent Team
The specialized, integrated adolescent treatment team in our PHP includes a psychiatric nurse practitioner, dietitian, family therapist and mental health counselors. In addition to providers at this level of care, any adolescent or family who has been treated in our other programs builds a unique treatment team that supports their treatment. Previous caregivers within Walden, as well as outpatient providers, remain as consultants to ongoing treatment.
Our adolescent intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are an essential component of treatment and recovery. The IOP’s mission is to empower families to give their adolescent the nutrition and support necessary for long-term recovery. This program offers 10 hours of structured support for adolescents and families weekly, including group and family therapy sessions. This level of care allows for intensive consultation for families navigating recovery within the home environment. At this level, the Walden team focuses on the psychological and social aspects of the recovery process while collaborating with outpatient providers who often include pediatricians, psychiatrists and nutrition consultants to the family. At this level of care, an adolescent remains in the context of his or her life and is supported in the task of creating a life worth living outside of treatment.
Specialized Adolescent Team
The specialized, integrated adolescent treatment team in our adolescent IOP level of care includes a family therapist, group therapists and mental health counselors specifically trained in Family-Based Treatment (FBT) interventions and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills groups. In addition to the staff at this level of care, any adolescent or family who has been treated in our other programs builds a unique treatment team that supports their treatment. Previous caregivers within Walden, as well as outpatient providers, remain as consultants to ongoing treatment. At the IOP level of care, we rely on outpatient providers to guide medical and nutritional interventions as the goal is to prepare an adolescent and family for transitioning more fully into their lives with the support of their outpatient team.
Walden Behavioral Care offers outpatient treatment services via its subsidiary, Walden Psychiatric Associates. Eating disorders outpatient clinics are located in Waltham, Peabody, Amherst, Massachusetts; and South Windsor, Connecticut. Outpatient services include nutritional counseling and individual group and family therapy. Outpatient programs provided by Walden Psychiatric Associates do not accept insurance.
Child and Adolescent Mastering Balance Outpatient Program
The Waltham office offers a Child and Adolescent Mastering Balance Outpatient Program. This program specializes in the treatment of compulsive overeating, binge-eating disorder, food addiction and weight management. Treatment is provided by experienced and compassionate professionals representing the disciplines of nutrition, psychiatry, psychology and social work. In addition, this office provides outpatient treatment services that include psychopharmacology consultations, medication management and nutritional counseling for depression and other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Outpatient Home-Based Care
Home-based care was developed in response to the needs and requests from families in our higher levels of care. This service can also be considered as an adjunct to our existing outpatient programs (IOP and PHP) or a separate treatment entity for families who would benefit from these services.
Walden home-based care options are one way to ease this transition for families while providing assistance in a family’s true environment. Home-based care may include families with children under the age of 12 who may not relate to the traditional adolescent group treatment we offer in our more intensive program. Home-based care may also serve families who prefer to engage in treatment outside of a group setting or families that have challenges meeting the transportation or time demands of our traditional programs. In addition, a transition to outpatient care can be full of challenges as support decreases from more than 10 hours a week of individual and family support at the IOP level to fewer than two hours of ongoing weekly support.
Home-based care options are currently available in the metro-Boston and Worcester areas and include family therapy, individual therapy, skills coaching and meal coaching. The program is tailored to support any family’s needs. Payment for home-based care is private pay.