Our inpatient EDU programme was the first Eating Disorders Unit to be established within the private sector. It was the brainchild of eminent psychologist, Professor Daniel le Grange, who completed his Ph.D. at London University and worked with Professor Gerald Russell at the famous Maudsley Eating Disorders facility in London. After returning to the University of Cape Town for a few years, he took up academic posts at Stanford and the University of New York and today directs the Eating Disorders Unit at the University of Chicago. Daniel, together with a professional think tank, including our current unit director, developed the first short admissions inpatient programme in South Africa, a move that provided an invaluable treatment option to a patient community whose only options until then were very extended admissions in the state facilities.
The specialist programme designed for Kenilworth Clinic that opened in 1994 provided an intensive 3-week group milieu programme involving verbal groups, didactic lectures, challenge outings and individualised dietetic management. There was a strong focus on individual and family therapies and a team psychiatrist to manage psychiatric medication. When Professor le Grange emigrated to the United States in 1995, Graham Alexander assumed the programme directorship and, together with the multidisciplinary team, guided the programme’s organic development into the multi-faceted programme it is today. In its early years, it became evident that the programme needed to be slightly extended and include transitional phases as we still have today, where both day-patient and half-daily phases help with the smooth return to outpatient treatment and life within the existing environment. It is critically important to understand that the inpatient programme should not be expected to bring about a complete recovery, but should be seen as a vital platform upon which full recovery is consolidated in follow-up treatments.
The entire multidisciplinary team accepted the offer to move the unit to Crescent Clinic in 2002 in order for the programme to be preserved as a specialist stand-alone unit. Today our 7-bed unit boasts a multidisciplinary team of 10 consultant professional specialists, additional counsellors and a nursing team specifically dedicated to the Eating Disorders Unit.
Although the programme is regularly adding new and valuable components to the weekly schedule, it remains distinctly recognisable in its design. There are in excess of 20 groups groups in the weekly schedule including: verbal groups, life skills, drama therapy, body image groups, inner child and gender groups, various educational groups, including two weekly nutrition sessions with the dietetic team. There are other groups like relaxation classes, crafts, as well as yoga and massage (optional). In addition, the programme provides challenge outings in order to provide therapeutic opportunities and also help in the adjustment to some normal everyday activities that non-eating disordered individuals take for granted. Individual and family psychotherapies are also each provided on a minimum once-weekly basis. More details of each group can be seen on the Inpatient Programme Booklet which is available on the downloads page.
If it has been established that you will require inpatient treatment, please ensure that you arrange an appointment with the programme manager after your assessment and prior to admission. The purpose of this meeting will be to familiarize you with the clinic setting, clarify anything that you read in this booklet and answer any other questions that you have about the treatment programme