Levels of Care for Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life and of all ages. They can be overwhelming and cause depression even in the first stages. As an eating disorder develops, serious medical conditions can occur and leave the patient with lifelong trauma. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is just the beginning. Determining the appropriate level of care is critical.  

There are four levels of care for Eating Disorder Treatment:


Outpatient is the least concentrated solution for treatment. With this level of care, the patient participates in a treatment plan regularly, but still returns home daily and is capable of caring for themselves and making progress with their eating disorder. This is appropriate when the patient is emotionally stable and is not in any physical danger. The patient can function in a public environment and can successfully interact with others. Outpatient treatment is only viable if the patient is not a danger to his/herself.

Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient is similar to outpatient, but provides a higher level of structure and support. At this point, the patient has their symptoms under control and may have just completed some of the more intensive treatments. This program generally lasts around three hours per day and can be for three to five days per week, depending on the patient’s needs. During this time, the patient participates in group meetings and therapies and is encouraged to share at least one meal with their support group. This is an excellent opportunity for a patient to experience some independence while still receiving the support they require at this time.  

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospital treatment is an excellent solution if the patient requires daily assessment or is a danger to themselves. This is often the treatment of choice when they are emotionally or medically stable, but their decisions are not beneficial to their long-term health. Eating disorders have an enormous effect on the psychiatric condition of a person, and when they are unstable, partial hospital treatment may be the best choice of treatment. With this level of care, the patient spends anywhere from a few hours up to 12 hours each day up to seven days a week in the hospital in the care of professionals. Generally speaking, the patient stays at the facility for the majority of the day, eating their meals and attending therapies and group meetings. These activities help the patient to maintain healthy habits with the support of professionals.


When a patient is considered psychiatrically unstable, and they are a danger to themselves, residential care may be the best fit. Residential care does not offer medical or physical care, but focuses on the mental, emotional, and psychological aspects of their specific eating disorder.   Here, the patient is continuously monitored, and works through their disorder with the constant support of a professional team to ensure their progress and physical safety.


The last level of care for eating disorder treatment is inpatient. This is the most intensive level of care and requires the patient to be monitored continuously for both medical and psychiatric reasons. When the patient is a threat to themselves, they need a higher level of medical care due to an injury or another ailment, or they are suicidal. This type of treatment offers the most support and is for the most severe or chronic eating disorders.   

Hired Power can help your family find the perfect treatment plan and placement for your loved one seeking recovery from an eating disorder. Our Safe Passage Transport service is an excellent option to ensure the patient makes it to and from their selected treatment facilities with no distractions and a professional support system in place.

Eating disorders are serious and require immediate professional assistance. If you or someone you know is dealing with an eating disorder, please reach out to Hired Power at 800-910-9299 to get the help you need.