The Cambridge (Mass.) Eating Disorder Center (CEDC) recently opened its first satellite location in Concord, N.H., to help fill a gap in services for families in the northern New England area.
CEDC Director Seda Ebrahimi, Ph.D., who founded the center 15 years ago, said the Cambridge location’s residential units serve clients from throughout New England and all over the country. Over the years, she noticed a distinct gap in services in the northern New England area.
“We have many patients from the Northeast, including New Hampshire,” she said. “It was always a challenge when we were thinking about after-care and getting ready to discharge them.”
Patients leaving residential care typically step down into partial hospitalization and then intensive outpatient programs.
“It’s important to have a gradual transition from 24/7 care to lower levels of care with progressively more freedom and independence, but still have support and structure,” Ebrahimi said.
“When individuals step down, they often struggle as they adjust to less treatment and support. It really is imperative to have a program available to be able to catch them at this point and ensure that a slip does not turn into a full blown relapse.”
That proved challenging in northern New England, as there aren’t many step-down programs in the region, she said.
CEDC of N.H. will provide comprehensive partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient programs to women and men from age 12 to adulthood.
CEDC of N.H. offers partial hospitalization programs at either a 6.5-hour or an extended 10-hour day of treatment. Both the intensive outpatient programs and outpatient programs offer flexible schedules throughout the week with daytime and evening options available.
The satellite location opened in late August, and has already been busy and well-received.
“They have a good program going,” Ebrahimi said, noting that most insurances are accepted. “I don’t think insurance will be an obstacle for anyone,” she said.
Experienced eating disorder therapist, author and consultant, Monika Ostroff, MSW, LICSW, will serve as director.
The center also takes direct admissions from the community; patients do not have to be stepping down from residential treatment. “We are hoping we can help prevent hospitalizations by providing services to people at a lower level of care,” Ebrahimi said.
Ebrahimi is hoping the new location will be more convenient for not only New Hampshire residents but for residents of Vermont and Maine, where there is also a dearth of services.
“Many individuals who have eating disorders are ambivalent about seeking treatment. There is a part of them that wants the treatment and wants to get better, yet there is another part of them that is terrified of letting go of the eating disorder symptoms, which serve a variety of needs for them,” she said.
“When the system becomes too complicated in terms of being admitted to a program, many of them end up saying ‘It’s too difficult’ and they give up. Hopefully, our new program will take care of that problem by making treatment more accessible.”
She also wants to make the journey easier for patients’ families. “In the past, we’ve had patients and their families drive for an hour-and-a-half to two hours to our Cambridge location,” she said. “Their family members might stay in our lobby or wander around until the program is over and drive them back. It was a hardship for them. It will be a relief for many families to not have to go through that any longer.”
By Pamela Berard