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Eating disorders

Hospital inpatient services

Medical services delivered to a person who has been admitted to hospital

What is it?

Inpatient treatment is provided to someone following admission to a hospital.

What can someone expect?

You may be admitted into a hospital for treatment if you’re assessed as requiring specialist medical or psychiatric care.

Hospital medical admissions are indicated where a person is medically unstable—often due to malnutrition or chemical imbalances that lead to high physical risk.

Psychiatric admissions are also possible.

Treating teams prefer a voluntary admission, where the person agrees that admission is a necessary step in their treatment. However, when physical or mental health is compromised, an involuntary admission can be undertaken.

Admissions may be to a specialised eating disorder ward, or a general or mental health ward, depending on the hospital and the beds available. Both public and private hospitals may admit patients for inpatient treatment. Inpatient services provide 24-hour care and supervision.

The admission criteria considers several factors including malnutrition, weight loss, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, heart rate and pathology.

If you would like to read the guide to admission and inpatient treatment for adults with eating disorders in Queensland, please click here.

If you would like to read the admission of children and adolescents to acute mental health inpatients units, please click here.

Admissions will only occur after an assessment. This may be a planned admission following a referral for a specialist consultation made by your usual doctor, or after an urgent assessment following presentation to an emergency department.

Inpatient treatment may involve:

  • medical stabilisation and nursing
  • nutritional rehabilitation and/or resuscitation
  • psychological assessment and support
  • pharmacological therapy
  • engagement of carers, family and community supports
  • discharge planning for appropriate follow-up care.

Who is this for?

You may need to be admitted to hospital if you are experiencing medical instability or require psychiatric care.

How can someone access it?

Your treating doctor will refer you for a specialist assessment at a hospital if they believe an inpatient admission is required.

If you need to access urgent medical care, you should present in person to your nearest public hospital emergency department, or call ‘000’ in a life-threatening emergency.

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