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New eating disorder treatment facility fills need in region

By CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent

February 05. 2018 7:46PM
CHRIS GAROFOLO/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT Monika Ostroff, manager of the Reflections Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Salem, gives a tour of the facility, scheduled to start its outpatient programs in the first full week of February. 



Monika Ostroff, manager of the Reflections Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Salem, gives a tour of the facility, scheduled to start its outpatient programs in the first full week of February. (CHRIS GAROFOLO/UNION LEADER)

SALEM — Experts say a critical element to recovery from an eating disorder is making sure the skills obtained in therapy are transferable to the patient once they leave the session.

A new outpatient treatment facility in Salem will now offer, through an intensive new program, a sensible guide to those struggling with abnormal eating habits.

The Reflections Eating Disorders Treatment Center at the Parkland Medical Building, 31 Stiles Road, provides intensive outpatient services on a flexible schedule, group and individual therapy in a calm setting and partial hospitalization in a 12-hour program.

Monika Ostroff, the eating disorder program manager, said the vast majority of relapses happen because while patients learn the skills and have the ability to recite them, it is more difficult to effectively implement those skills when “they’re really faced with those emotional triggers.”

This program has exposure components that have patients outside the facility six times a month, shopping for clothes to work on body image and eating in restaurants and picking up groceries at the market to figure out how to meet the requirements of a meal plan.

“Those are all things that are practical skills, but they’re also opportunities to really practice that anxiety management,” Ostroff said. “If you’re somebody who needs support breakfast to dinner, we can provide that. If you need two out of the three meals, we can provide that. We have a lot of flexibility in how we transition them.”

Ostroff was one of a dozen hospital personnel at the site Thursday evening for an open house to tour the new center. The 3,200 square-foot facility and its six staff members expect to open with intakes and assessments in the first full week of February.

Up to 25 patients can be seen at capacity, once the center is fully operational.

All eating disorders, from anorexia and bulimia to binge and restrictive eating, are treated. An estimated 42,000 Granite Staters struggle with an eating disorder.

But there is a need not only in the state, but in northern New England for eating disorder treatment services, Ostroff said. Maine only has one service and Vermont does not currently have any within its borders, she added.

The Salem facility has two private consultation rooms for therapy and dietitian sessions, a large kitchen and dining space to teach healthy nutrition and cooking habits and an activity room available for yoga and what staff describe as “expressive therapies” to provide an enriching life after discharge.

“Given the fact that we are a 12-hour program, we actually can accurately and efficiently serve people who may meet a residential level of care,” Ostroff said.

Reflections also has a designed family skill-building and family-based meal program to help patients redirect behaviors associated with an eating disorder. For students, there is assistance on school-related issues so younger patients can maintain their academic standing.

Ryan Lawrence, director of Marketing and Public Relations for Parkland, said the hospital has agreements with local hotels and will help find accommodations for patients’ families.

“It helps cut back on traveling and family needs, because it’s not just the patients who are here, it’s families, too,” he said. “It’s really important to make sure they do have a place to go to outside of here.”

Overall, the program integrates a structured, psychotherapeutic approach that includes mental health experts, social workers, registered dietitians and other recovery professionals.

“We’ll treat 12 (years old) and up, males and females,” Ostroff said. “Realistically in any place I’ve worked we’ve generally seen more females than males, but there are absolutely a large number of males that seek treatment, and they’re going to be very comfortable and very welcome here.”

Parkland COO John Skevington said the inpatient unit, located within the same hospital-owned building complex as the center, opened in 2015. That was the medical facility’s first foray into behavioral health services.

Parkland is part of the Hospital Corporation of America conglomerate. HCA operates more than 160 medical facilities in 20 states and the United Kingdom, including a hospital in Virginia that until now had the only disease-specific eating disorder program on the East Coast.

“We learned about the program that was there, we recognized there was a need here in New Hampshire, and so we looked to bring the program up here,” Skevington said. “It’s another area of community need that we can meet as a hospital.”

Eating disorders are covered by Medicaid and most private insurance plans. More information on the Reflections center is available at 890-2724.


Business Health Salem

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