The Stepped System of Care for Eating Disorders outlines the different levels of treatment that people can access. These are organised across community-based, community-based intensive, and hospital and residential treatment.
The first treatment level of treatment available is community-based treatment.
This refers to evidence-based mental health treatment delivered in the community, ranging from self-help and brief interventions to longer courses of treatment, in conjunction with medical monitoring and treatment, nutritional intervention, and coordinated access to a range of services and transition support as needed.
Community-based treatment can be delivered through digital interventions and public and private health and mental health services including general practice, child and adolescent/youth and adult community mental health services, headspace, Head to Health, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, and eating disorder-specific services.
Look for Community-based Treatment to find an appropriate service near you.
Community-based intensive treatment
The second level of treatment is community-based intensive treatment.
This refers to evidence-based mental health treatment delivered in the community, at a higher level of frequency or intensity than community-based treatment, in conjunction with medical monitoring and treatment, nutritional intervention, and coordinated access to a range of services and transition support as needed.
Community-based intensive treatment can be delivered in a number of forms, including day programs, intensive outpatient programs, and community or home outreach interventions.
Community-based intensive treatment can be delivered through public and private eating disorder- specific services and child and adolescent/youth and adult community mental health services.
Look for community-based intensive to find an appropriate service near you.
Hospital and residential treatment
The third treatment level is hospital and residential treatment.
This refers to admission to hospital for people who are at medical and/or psychiatric risk, or admission to a hospital or residential program for people who are medically stable but would benefit from a higher level of treatment and support than can be provided through community-based or community-based intensive treatment options. Hospital or residential treatment should also include coordinated access to a range of services and transition support as needed. Nutritional support and intervention are a key part of hospital and residential treatment.
Hospital treatment can be delivered through medical and psychiatric inpatient units, eating disorder-specific inpatient units, emergency departments, hospital in the home, and rehabilitation units. Residential treatment is delivered through residential eating disorder services.
Look for Hospital and Residential treatment options to find a service near you.
Living in a rural area can make it harder for people with eating disorders to find help. However, while there may be fewer options for people with eating disorders in rural areas than there are for those living in the city, there is help available. You can:
Talk to your local GP or doctor. GPs can speak with you about your concerns and also help find a specialist or clinician in the area or who provides telehealth services who will be able to further diagnose or treat the disorder
Get in touch with the major metropolitan eating disorders support organisation in your state. This can be a good way of finding out what your options are. The professionals in these organisations can point you in the right direction and explain to you what specific options are available in your region
Contact one of the community-based support organisations in your state. They will be able to tell you if there are specifically trained practitioners in your local area who can help with eating disorders
It should be noted that while options for eating disorder treatments in rural areas can be limited, many city-based organisations offer consultation, education and support services to rural-based health care professionals.