13 Apr 2021
Approximately one-fifth to one-third of patients with adolescent anorexia nervosa (AN) need intensive care in the course of their illness. This article provides an update and discussion on different levels of intensive care (inpatient treatment (IP), day patient treatment (DP) and home treatment (HoT)) in different health care systems based on recently published literature. Important issues discussed in this article are new recommendations for the refeeding process and the definition of target weight as well as principles of medical stabilization and psychotherapeutic approaches. The pros and cons of longer or shorter hospitalization times are discussed, and the advantages of stepped care and day patient treatment are described. A new promising intensive treatment method involving the patient, their caregivers and the direct home environment is introduced. Parents and caregivers should be included in treatment research to foster collaborative work with the attending clinicians. There is an urgent need to evaluate the mid- to long-term outcomes of various intensive treatment programs to compare their effectiveness and costs across different health care systems. This could help policy makers and other stakeholders, such as public and private insurances, to enhance the quality of eating disorder care.