The Eating Disorders Center at Children’s Mercy provides family-centered care for children with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or related eating disorders. Because our approach is best for children and younger adolescents, new patients must be 16 years old or younger.
Our care team
Our team consists of pediatric and adolescent specialists in medical care, therapy and nutrition who work collaboratively with your family to care for your child or teen.
Team members and consultants to the Eating Disorders Center include:
Adolescent medicine medical providers
Dietitians with specialized training in treatment of eating disorders
Family focused, collaborative care
Children’s Mercy is the only eating disorder treatment center in the Kansas City region that is entirely focused on children and families.
Our outpatient program provides medical care, family and individual therapy, and nutrition services, all in one place. This allows for greater communication and collaboration between you and your team members.
We incorporate the latest science-based approaches to create a treatment plan that is tailored to the unique needs of your child.
Comprehensive treatment for children and teens with eating disorders
The team at the Eating Disorders Center works closely together with one another and with you to provide truly collaborative care for your child. We have dedicated times throughout the week for our staff members to coordinate care, evaluate progress and update treatment goals for each family served by our program.
Some children benefit most from our Family-based Treatment (FBT) approach (also known as the Maudsley Method). These children will have a medical provider and FBT-trained therapist on their care team, with additional services as needed.
Other children may benefit from a treatment team that includes a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy, a medical provider, and a nutritionist, with other services as needed.
In every case, the specialists who are caring for your child are always working jointly with your child, your family and other team members to collaborate on your child’s treatment plan and progress.
What to expect at the Eating Disorders Center
Making an appointment
A primary care provider (PCP) is a key partner in your child’s long-term recovery. Because of this, we recommend your child first visit their PCP for your concerns. If they submit a referral to our clinic, we will contact you to complete our electronic intake and provide additional recommendations.
There is typically a waiting period between your initial intake and your first appointment. Our medical team will coordinate with your child’s primary care provider to help them manage your child’s symptoms during this time.
Beginning the treatment process at Children’s Mercy
When you meet with the Eating Disorders Center outpatient team for the first time, we will do a comprehensive evaluation of your child. We generally follow these steps:
Determine medical safety—Since eating disorders impact every part of the body, our specially-trained providers will assess the impact of the eating disorder on all aspects of your child’s physical and mental health. The doctor will take a detailed health history, complete a physical exam, and order any needed laboratory or radiology tests to get a complete picture of your child’s health.
Create a treatment plan—A care team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan for your child. Parents and caregivers are vital members of the care team, so you will always be included in the decision-making process.
Begin treatment—Based on the above recommendations, we will connect you with the rest of your specialized care team, who will work with you and your child to determine treatment goals, frequency of visits and ongoing care needs. We highly encourage all caregivers to attend visits, as you are an essential part of the team.
Continue care at home—From your first visit, you, as parents and caregivers, will learn to support your child through treatment and towards recovery. You are an essential part of the team by providing the needed structure around nutrition and activity. Attending appointments will also teach you, your child, and your family how to cope with and recover from the difficult thoughts and emotions that come with having an eating disorder.
Your family will continue to meet regularly with your Eating Disorders Center team for as long as needed. Because of the vital role of family members in your child’s recovery, caregivers are involved in a portion of every visit. Your child will also have opportunities to meet with their team one-on-one as needed.
Finding the right eating disorder treatment program
Our program is a great fit for children and adolescents who will be living with their family for at least the next year and will have family support for the 12-18 months following the beginning of treatment.
Because of the high need for pediatric-specific care, our focus is on children and teens ages 8-16. We do not generally see younger children with “picky eating” concerns. We also do not see older teens (17+) as new patients, although we continue to follow older teens who are already in our program to provide continuity of care.
Children’s Mercy is a comprehensive outpatient treatment program. We do not provide residential treatment, but do provide ongoing medical inpatient consultation at Children’s Mercy when medical hospitalization is needed. The inpatient team works closely with outpatient providers to coordinate a seamless discharge plan if outpatient care is appropriate.
As always, if your child is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Please work with your primary care provider so they can refer you to our clinic if we are the best place for your child. Seeing your primary care provider will also help us have important information before seeing your child.
For questions or more information about our program, call (913) 696-5070 to speak with a team member.