The Renfrew Center Eating Disorder Treatment Facility


First in Eating Disorders

Since 1985, The Renfrew Centers have been providing
clinical excellence within a nurturing environment — 
empowering women to change their lives.

Renfrew Eating Disorder Treatment Center FAQs


What levels of care does The Renfrew Center offer?

What is Renfrew’s treatment philosophy? 

When should I refer my patient for treatment?

What levels of care does The Renfrew Center offer?

The Renfrew Center is unique among treatment centers in offering not just inpatient programs, but a full continuum of care that supports patients well beyond their residential stay. This comprehensive range of services - which is available throughout the country and includes day, intensive outpatient, outpatient and extended care programs -  is tailored with each patient and her referring therapist to develop treatment plans and goals based on her unique needs. 

Renfrew maintains continuity in philosophy and approach throughout the individual’s treatment, all while facilitating timely transitions from one level of care to another in order to maximize treatment and insurance benefits.

Click here to read more about our levels of care and all of our services.

What is Renfrew’s treatment philosophy?

The Renfrew Center supports the belief that there is never a single cause for the development of an eating disorder. Rather, eating disorders are complex illnesses with biological, genetic, psychological, social and developmental roots. Effective treatment must target this entire range of factors.

At The Renfrew Center, treatment is: 

  • Collaborative rather than imposed.
  • Interactive rather than passive.
  • Personal rather than distant or neutral.

Renfrew’s innovative programs emphasize the healing potential of interpersonal connection and are based on:

  • A fundamental belief that relationships and a sense of community are central to the psychological health of women.
  • A belief that it is essential for patients and their families to be involved in goal setting and the ongoing assessment of treatment progress.
  • The recognition that girls and women are that segment of our population most affected by eating disorders.
  • A commitment to soliciting feedback from patients, families and professionals in order to help continually improve services.
  • The value of integrating the results of research into Renfrew’s ongoing treatment programs through a formal process.

With these goals in mind, The Renfrew Center offers a full range of treatment options led by clinical staff members who are:

  • Known leaders in the field of eating disorder treatment.
  • Experts in the psychology of women.
  • Sensitive to the biological, social and cultural contexts of women's lives. 
  • Dedicated to restoring a sense of meaningful well-being in every patient.

At The Renfrew Center, patients are matched to the appropriate level of care, at which they are able to develop better interpersonal and communication skills and become immersed in a treatment process designed to affect a full and lasting recovery.

When should I refer my patient for treatment?

The Renfrew Center recommends eating disorder treatment in the following circumstances:


  • Weight changes of concern
  • Rapid or persistent decline in food intake
  • Inability to decrease eating disorder symptoms (purging, restricting, diet pills, laxative, diuretic, or emetic use, excessive or compulsive exercising, binge eating, etc.)
  • Lack of progress with current level of care
  • Co-occurring psychiatric disorder (Major Depression with or without suicidal features, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Substance Abuse, etc.)
  • Decreasing ability to function in daily responsibilities
  • Lack of support system; dysfunctional support system
  • Ambivalent or uncooperative with treatment recommendations
  • Physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, chest pain, syncope, palpitations, and GI bleeding

Medical Complications such as the following may indicate a need for intensive treatment:

  • Unable to maintain adequate weight 
  • Acute weight decline with food refusal 
  • Dehydration
  • Bradycardia (typically HR < 60 bpm)
  • Greater than a 20 bpm increase in HR with position changes
  • QTc interval > 440
  • BP 90/60 mm HG for adults and 80/50 mm HG for children
  • Orthostatic changes > 20 mm HG for adults or > 10-20 mm HG for children
  • Hepatic, renal, cardiovascular, or organ compromise
  • Glucose < 60 mg/dl
  • Potassium < 3 meq/liter
  • Other electrolyte imbalance
  • Type 1 diabetes (poorly controlled or involved with eating disorder symptom use)
  • Osteopenia or osteoporosis
  • Amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea in females

Source: American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Eating Disorders, third edition, 2006.

How do I start the process of getting my patient into treatment at Renfrew?

To start the admission process, professionals should call 1-800-RENFREW. Your call is answered by a Program Information Coordinator who needs approximately 10 minutes to gather demographic information, insurance information and some basic ED symptoms. Once this has been completed, and we have spoken directly with the referred patient to confirm that she is voluntary for treatment, it generally takes one to two business days to check insurance benefits. As soon as benefits have been verified, we can proceed with scheduling the patient for an assessment. Once a clinical recommendation is determined and she has been medically cleared for admission, an admission date can be provided.

How soon can my patient be assessed?

We can schedule your patient for an assessment as soon as we have spoken to her to confirm she is voluntary for treatment, ask some basic symptom questions and verify benefits. Insurance verification usually takes between one to two business days and, once verified, we can proceed with scheduling your patient for an assessment.

How soon can my patient be admitted?

An admission date can be provided once we have received all of the required medical clearances and lab work, and our medical practitioner has cleared the patient for admission.

As the referring professional, how will I know when my patient is admitted and subsequently discharged?

The Renfrew Center encourages collaboration with all referring professionals. Before admission, we will explore your treatment goals for your patient and, once she is admitted, we will discuss with you our plan of care and the patient’s progress. We are always interested in your feedback and welcome your collaboration. When the patient is returned to you for ongoing care, you will receive a discharge summary that fully briefs you on her progress, treatment success and our recommendations.