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Eating Disorders

We assess and treat children, youth and young adults with eating disorders in our Specialized Eating Disorder Program and the Looking Glass Residence.

BC Children's Hospital provides assessments, recommendations, and treatment for children, youth, and young adults with eating disorders while supporting families and caregivers in our Specialized Eating Disorders Programs.

We provide a range of services for children/youth that are comprehensive, collaborative, patient and family-centred using a team-based approach designed to help youth develop healthy eating skills and equip families/caregivers with strategies to support their child at home.

The Eating Disorders team also provides provincial community supports that include team-to-team consults, education and support, shared care models and collaborative transition planning.

Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program

Who we support

We assess and treat children/youth up to the age of 18 years old and still in high school who are experiencing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other severe eating disorders. Eating disorders can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and our program embraces cultural, racial and gender inclusivity. We strive to create a safe, ethical, trauma-informed, therapeutic environment where everyone feels cared for and valued while working to create a life worth living. 

Our health care team

During assessment and treatment, we collaborate and work with youth, their family/care providers and community partners. Our team includes clinical counsellors, psychologists, social workers, youth and family counsellors, occupational therapists, dietitians, teachers, nurses, adolescent medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, researchers, and other disciplines as needed. 

Treatment pathway options

An in-person or virtual assessment is completed with the youth and family/caregiver to determine the appropriate treatment pathway for the youth which could include BC Children's or redirection to community services.

Treatment options at BC Children's include inpatient and outpatient treatment, a day program as well as a live-in treatment option at the Looking Glass Residence. Our programs serve individuals from BC and the Yukon who require services beyond what their community services can provide.

  • Inpatient treatment: Children/youth who are not able to achieve or maintain medical stability in their home community and require tertiary level, intensive medical care are admitted to BC Children's Hospital for treatment, recovery, and transition. Our team works with the youth and the family/caregiver using a holistic approach to create a care plan and treatment goals. During treatment at the hospital, we work with families to transition back home and collaborate on a plan for care after discharge. 
  • Outpatient treatment: Time limited services of medical monitoring, family based therapy and dietitian support are provided to a child/youth under certain circumstances for example, for those awaiting admission to or having just completed inpatient treatment.
  • Day treatment: An intensive Dialectical Behavioural Treatment (DBT) informed outpatient program for youth who have previously engaged in treatment, and continues to experience significant eating disorder symptoms and co-occurring conditions such as self-harm. Patients attend Monday to Friday from 9:00AM-4:30PM. In this program, youth and their families learn skills to work towards a life worth living. Check out our Day Treatment Program Handbook for more information. 
  • Looking Glass Residence: A treatment program for Male, Female, Trans, gender and culturally diverse youth and young adults 16-24 years of age. The Looking Glass Treatment Pathway includes in person and virtual components:
    • Pre-program provides support and education to increase treatment readiness
    • Living-in program provides 24-hour care with intensive treatment and recovery maintenance
    • Post-program is designed to support the maintenance phase of recovery in collaboration with your community team
How to access care

Families/caregivers of children/youth that may be experiencing eating disorder symptoms are to consult with their GP/Pediatrician and engage with their community eating disorder program or Child & Youth Mental Health team for treatment prior to being referred to BC Children's program. If you have additional questions, connect with us at the Kelty Centre. We have parent peer support workers who have lived experience with mental health challenges in their families. They offer non-judgemental, compassionate peer support, and can also help walk you through these different support options. 

Referrals to the BC Children's Eating Disorder program are accepted from community eating disorders programs and the Child & Youth Mental Health team. In  the absence of community eating disorders programming, GPs and pediatricians can refer to the BC Children's Hospital program for consideration for assessment.

Assessment & treatment

We provide a complete range of services for children and youth struggling with eating disorders. Our program combines medical, psychiatric, nutritional, psychosocial and other aspects of care. Family involvement is critical to recovery and built into all of our programs.

Outpatient treatment

Our outpatient services include:

  • Medical appointments
  • Family-based therapy appointments
  • Dietetic appointments to discuss food and nutrition

The appointments may be in-person or done virtually. 

Inpatient treatment

When your child or youth is referred to our inpatient services, they stay on the eating disorders unit at BC Children's Hospital to begin treatment. Our team works with you to create a care plan. After treatment at the hospital, we may continue to provide follow-up care, or refer your child back to your local care provider.

The Looking Glass Residence is a homelike setting with 24 hour care. The program provides:

  • Therapy
  • Meal support
  • Education
  • Psychiatric care
  • Medical care

Your child or youth can challenge the power of an eating disorder in our safe and supportive setting. They can learn how to cope with daily life without using destructive behaviours.  Learn more at Looking Glass BC.

If you are 19 years and over and admitted into publicly-funded beds at Looking Glass Residence, you will need to pay a daily fee of $45. If you receive income assistance or disability, this fee is paid for by your coverage. The fee is based on standards for residential treatment programs in British Columbia.

Please see the resident handbook (PDF) and program schedule (PDF) for more information, and to help prepare for admission.

Services we offer

We provide an initial assessment of a child or youth. Our assessment team includes a medical physician, a psychiatrist and/or psychologist, and a nurse. Those admitted to our programs will have ongoing assessment that may include:


  • occupational therapy
  • dietetics (food studies)
  • social work
  • special education

Our team will provide a diagnosis after the initial assessment.‎


‎After the assessment, we may:


  1. Offer to consult with you and your community care provider about the best treatment options in your community for you or your child 
  2. Provide treatment based on the diagnosis and level of severity. Treatment may include:
    • medical stabilization
    • individual, family or group therapy
    • nutrition therapy
    • meal support

As a family member, you play a critical role in your loved one's treatment and their transition back home. We work with families and their community providers to develop a care plan so that they can best support their loved one at home.‎


‎Our team members are available to consult with local care providers to better meet the needs of children and youth struggling with eating disorders in their community.

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SOURCE: Eating Disorders ( )
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