RVH and OSMH Partner to Improve Care for Youth with Eating Disorders

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) have partnered to launch the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Eating Disorder Program (SMREDP).

Serving children, adolescents, and young adults (under 25 years) within Barrie, Orillia and surrounding areas, this joint initiative aims to create new pathways in treatment; enhance existing programming; decrease hospital admission rates; provide high quality evidence-based care; and centralize services to improve access for patients and their families across our region.

“I am very proud to be a part of this alliance as RVH and OSMH are committed to providing leading-edge, patient-centered care in the treatment of eating disorders,” says Dr. Leah Bartlett, RVH Chief of Paediatrics and Medical Director, Paediatrics & Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “The expansion of our program to include transitional aged youth (25 and under) will allow us to continue the treatment journey for a population of youth that have never had access to these specialized services.”

In addition, the SMREDP will provide a pre-treatment phase that offers families support prior to receiving treatment to help manage long waitlists and ensure patients become connected to the appropriate services in a timely manner.

“The collaboration between RVH and OSMH not only represents a significant step forward in our commitment to standardizing and enhancing care, but also promises hope and accessibility for many families struggling with these complex disorders,” says Dr. Sarah Barker, OSMH Paediatrician and Program Medical Director of Regional Women and Children, Mental Health and Pharmacy. “By addressing challenges such as waitlists and providing vital pre-treatment support, we’re prioritizing the well-being of our patients, ensuring they receive timely and effective treatment. This program symbolizes a bright future for eating disorder care in our region, and I am thrilled to be a part of this transformative initiative.”

With support from TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment, the Advanced Community Eating Disorders (ACED) Care initiative was established in 2022 to provide the capacity-building resources and operational support required to develop holistic eating disorder care for young people in Simcoe Muskoka. Early achievements of the ACED Care Initiative have paved the way for better medical outcomes through the new SMREDP.

Eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED), are severe illnesses with significant medical and mental health complications. There has been an unprecedented increase in cases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It breaks my heart the wait list for programs has been months or even years – some children don’t have that much time to wait,” says Leeann Hurd, whose daughter, Jordyn, received treatment for an eating disorder. “It’s my hope that SMREDP will mean more children in the area can get the kind of wonderful care Jordyn had. I can honestly say that without the eating disorder program and the team at OSMH, she might not be here today. They saved her life.”

To access the SMREDP, a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner is required.

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