**updated reviews greatly appreciated. the VA facility has closed. The ranch now has houses that specifically treat children, boys, adolescents, and adults. there have been a number of other changes as well…
When were you there: May 2007-June 2007, 45 days!Describe the average day: Wake up at 6am to do vitals and weights, breaktfast at 7ish, an hour of free time, then groups/individual appts with therapist/psychiatrist/etc. until 12pm, meds at 12pm, lunch at 12:30pm, more groups/individual appts until 4pm, chapel at 4:30pm, supper at 6pm, and rec/equine privilege ride/free time after supper, meds at 9pm, and bedtime at 9:45pm.
What were meals like? Ate with 4-6 people and there was always a table monitor, played lots of games
What sorts of food were available or served? Pick your entree and side from two choices, food was ok.
Did they supplement? How did that system work? Feeding tubes, boost, or ensure. If you need weight restoration, some people were given the option to either consume more calories or feeding tube.
What privelages are allowed? See next question…however, no tv, magazines, radio, internet, essentially contact with the outside world, no razors, no products that list alcohol in the 1st three ingredients such as hair spray, etc. (you have to check them out from the staff), no soda, gum, etc. You can use the phone/receive calls after your first three days. Phone hours were from after chapel at 5:15pm-bedtime Monday-Friday. All day on Saturday and Sunday.
Does it work on a level system? Yes, red until you are medically cleared, yellow allows you to go to groups and be transported via “people mover”, and green gives you all privileges such as walking to groups, equine privilege ride, an hour of room time on Saturday & Sunday.
What sort of groups do they have? Art therapy, trauma group, body image, OCD, bulumic group, yoga, ropes/challenge course, canine therapy, skills, medical issues
What was your favorite group? Canine therapy, trauma group
What did you like the most? All of the other ladies and staff–24/7 love and support. My community was really positive and pro-recovery.
What did you like the least? The weekends were long with little to do.
Would you recommend this program? Absolutely, without a doubt.
What level of activity or exercise was allowed? If you were green, you had the option of going on a cardio walk 3 mornings/week, could walk to the groups/chapel, etc., and could go to the bookstore or out on a ‘restaurant challenge” If you were red, you could sit on the couch and breathe and that’s about it.
What did people do on weekends? There was usually one group on Saturday morning, there was art room time on alternating Saturdays, and if you were at a certain level, you could have 60-90 minutes of unmonitored room time on Saturday and Sunday. Optional chapel and bible study on Sunday. We watched a lot of PG-movies.
Do you get to know your weight? Not a specific number but sometimes a range such as “you are in the range you are supposed to be based on your height, etc. You could find out your weight toward the end of your stay.
How fast is the weight gain process? Slow, usually 1-2 pounds/week.
Definitely recommend Remuda; the staff, therapists, etc. are wonderful and always willing to talk. I cried every day the first week/weeks and the staff told me it would be ok, etc. Very caring. My medical concerns were addressed. Email me if you have any questions. It is hard but definitely worth it…you are worth it!
Yes, you do have the option of using supplements rather than the tube. When you are underweight at Remuda, you get the option of either the tube or supplements. When I was there, I chose the supplements rather than the tube because I was really freaked out about the idea of having one, although it seemed to me that most of the girls actually chose tubes.Even if you choose the tube, you still have to eat the standard three meals and three snacks a day, so everyone at the ranch will have to eat. The supplements and tubes are just for added calories to gain weight. As far as the supplements there, there are options such as Boost puddings, Boost drinks, Resource oats, Resource ice cream abd Resource cookies. Hope that helped some.
When were you there: June 22 – August 27, the last 3 weeks of which were at Remuda Life, not the Ranch.Describe the average day: You have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, and groups in between. Home group is everyday, equine is once a week (twice if you get to do the Privilege Ride), and you get to do the challenge course every other week. You meet w/ ur therapist twice a week and your dietician once a week.
What were meals like? You get 3 options, breakfast is big, lunch is medium size, and dinner is the smallest. The food isnt too bad. Table games are used for distraction if the meal is hard for people to get thru.
What sorts of food were available or served? Lots of different things, from chicken and veggies and rice to pizza and sorbet.
Did they supplement? How did that system work? Yeah, depending on how much weight you need to gain, and you got supplement if you couldn’t finish a meal. The cool think about Remuda is that food is NOT for weight gain, thats what the Ensures are for.
What privelages are allowed? Priv ride, priv table
Does it work on a level system? Yeah: red, yellow, green. Red you can’t do anything, yellow you can do everything but equine, and green you can do everything available. Depending on what your weight is doing you might be put on transport meaning you can’t walk anywhere but have to ride in the “people mover” (aka golf cart)
What sort of groups do they have? home group, bulimic group, addictions group, trauma group, anxiety group, adult process group
What was your favorite group? home and bulimic, but I wasn’t in any of the others.
What did you like the most? Equine, canine therapy, and the challenge course! Especially the challenge course.
What did you like the least? Essential Tools class. Blah.
Would you recommend this program? YES it changed my life!
What level of activity or exercise was allowed? Cardio walk 2X a week if you are at you IBW. Plus you walk everywhere, do equine, and the ropes course. Swimming if you are there in the summer (but you are only allowed to swim 1 lap, and then are supposed to just hang out in the water the rest of the time but you can tread and they dont care). Oh and rec once a week sometimes gets ur heartrate up.
What did people do on weekends? Nap, hang out, watch movies, more napping. Priv ride if you are on the list, passes to go out in Wickenburg w/ staff if you are eligable.
Do you get to know your weight? Yeah, but I think it varies from person to person. They also told me my fat % and muscle mass %.
How fast is the weight gain process? I am not sure, I was already in my range when I went. I would guess 1 lb. a week or so.
What was the average length of stay? 45 to 60 days, I was there 45 and then at RLP for 3 weeks.
What was the average age range? mid twenties. Youngest 18, oldest 40ish in my community.
General info for prospective patients:
Food wise, depending on your current status, you will be started on refeeding, a very light and eaily digestivlle food, gentle, slightly more filling, or normal, which is sometimes scary, but very tasety and helps conquer food fears. THe dining room lookes like a house with extra tables. Very homey not hospital like at all
Tubeing: Its encouraged for patients who have a lot to gain as it makes it easier to deal with and helps later when you will only have to eat food
exercisë: for patients on green level, there are 20 min walks every day. THere is also a ropes course and summer swimming
Programs: art thereapy, nutrition and body image groups, goal groups, groups I cant remember, school, AMAZING chaples, therapy with amazing therapist, home groups, equine, free time, family week,this helps you heal the wounds caused by your eating disorder
Supplements: tube feeds, boost, boost pudding, resource cookies and ice cream, resource oatmeal (yummmmm!)
schedual Up at 6, bed at 9, varied schedual in between
rooms: share a room with three other girls, about 16-19 to a house, nurses outside door to check on you
1) There are lots of things you cannot bring, but only because of safety issues and them wanting you to focus. I’ll list some here- No: flip-flops, clothing with food or drugs/alcohol logos, glass whatsoever, metal objects, shaving rasors (you can only have electric rasors), CDs/MP3s and accessories, most books (some exceptions made by your therapist), stuffed animals (if you ask your therapist, you can get a plushy horse), anything with alcohol within the first three ingredients, blowdryers/curlers/flat irons (or they will be kept behind the desk), anything related to the ED (duh, stuff like laxatives, diet pills, diet foods), laptop computers, etc. Again, this is ONLY for safety precautions, and they provide you with things you might need, like the haircurlers and electric rasors if you don’t want to bring them. As there is no computer access, bring stationery and stamps. Also, no cell phones so bring a calling card.2) Your weight range is measured by using caliper measurements. It is catered specifically to your body, not based on BMI or “ideal” weight. It’s the most accurate way of measuring your body’s healthy weight range (besides having underwater measurement, which…obviously they can’t do).
3) Typically, the tube is offered if you are <80-85% (correct me if I’m completely wrong, guys) of ideal weight and will not do supplements. Also, they will “strongly medically recommend” that you have the tube if they don’t think you can gain the appropriate amount of weight with supplements in the allotted time you have (either 45, 60, 75, or 90 days). A lot of people think RR is tube-happy, but they use the NG tube because it has been shown in research that voluntary tubing is more effective for weight restoration. I also found it easier to separate weight gain from the tube feedings (AKA medicine) from weight gain from supplements (which I did at Remuda Life after having the tube for two months at Remuda Ranch).
3) If you are still in high school, I’m sure they will work with you to finish classwork. Talk to intake about this, as this is a sorta tricky situation. I had a friend who turned 18 while she was at Remuda adolescent programme, and she still was able to keep doing her school work in the ado programme.
4) Remuda Life is really recommended as a transition. What are some questions you have about it? Typically you stay for 30-45 days but it can be as long as 90+ days if you need it.
5) Family Week is important, but I have a friend who didn’t have her family come, and she said it was still very helpful. Another example was with me; my father didn’t come to FW, and I really wanted to get some things out in therapy with him, so instead, I talked it out with another father of one of the families in FW with us (there are typically four other families in therapy with you during FW). It was a good release, and has helped me realise that I cannot change things. Also, your therapist will call your family and explain to them the strong importance of being there for therapy if you agree to it. You can also do a phone conference with your family if they just refuse to come. I’d really recommend seeing if you can get them to come though. My mom, husband, and sister drove 9-10 hours to get to AZ, and it was pretty worth it.
What’s the food like? Snacks?
You choose one out of three choices for meals- you have 3 meals a day (6.30a, 12.30p, and around 6.45p), and 3 snacks a day. Snacks are things like trail mix (called GORP- try it, it’s soooo good), yoghurt-covered pretzels, string cheese, apple + peanut butter, banana, pudding, animal crackers, oreos, carrots + Ranch dressing, etc. Don’t let this overwhelm you at the moment; they portion out proper amounts. You are assigned a certain amount of “snack EQs (equivalents)” by your dietitian. Typically, it’s around 4-6, sometimes more if you are on weight restoration. Also, they have “metabolic additions” added to your meals if you don’t really need supplements but may need to gain a few pounds to get to your ideal weight range- they are things like an added 1/2 cup of ice cream or an added biscuit or an extra condiment, for example, during your meal. Supplements for weight restoration are Ensures, Boosts (they were phasing out the Boost puddings while I was there, but they may have brought them back), and Carnation Instant Breakfast juices. They also have snack challenges a couple times a month (I believe) where you can challenge yourself to have things like birthday cake, chips and dip, soda, etc. These snacks still count for “snack EQs.”
If you are on the tube, Do you still do snacks?
Yes. They carefully monitor your weight and make sure you are on track, so don’t worry about just gaining too much.
Do they allow passes?
You are allowed to have family visit at the Ranch during the weekend, as long as you get it approved by your team a few days in advance. Also, there are Action I and Action II passes- Action I is where you go to the Remuda bookstore (it’s in the middle of Wickenburg) and Pony Espresso (for snack); Action II is where you go on a restaurant challenge. It’s stressful, but also very fun. Also, you have Family Week pass on the weekend of your Family Week therapy. Then you get to actually get to go out on your own with your family!
Can you have blankets?
Only in your room due to sanitation issues and organisation. They also wanna make sure you are awake and alert during the day.
Were you there over the holidays? I’ll be there for T-Giving, Christmas & New Years,, Do they do anything special (If you know).
I was there during Christmas and New Years this last year, and we did a special snack challenge where we decourated Christmas cookies- you did have to decourate at least one cookie, but didn’t have to eat it if you didn’t want to. However, it did count as “snack EQs” if you did. Good to challenge yourself! We had a lot of fun on Christmas, and although we still had groups and therapy, we decourated in our free time. If you look through some of my photos, you’ll see that the girls and I ended up making “reindeer antler” hats that we wore all day. It was hilarious. Also, family can come visit if you give your treatment team notice and you’ll have a monitored Christmas meal that is portioned out correctly for you. The same goes for Thanksgiving, but I’m sure since you’ll have only been there for a couple days, you probably can’t have your family come yet. As for New Years, we had some cheesy (but hilarious) New Years “dance party.” Trust me, you’ll have plenty of friends around ya to keep ya company, and it actually was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had.
Are you in the general population the first few days or in a different spot?
You are in the general population. There are three communities at the AZ ranch- Palamino, Appaloosa, and Paint. Basically, the community that you’re in will be the people you do stuff with and bunk with.
Do they have CD players there?
They have a DVD/CD player in the main living space, and you can listen to music after therapy in the evening. However, they don’t have personal CD players. Also, the only music they really allow is Christian artists, because they don’t want profane lyrics, etc.
How many girls are there in the AZ home?
Well, like I said there are three communities; total, there are about…I’d say…50 girls, however, they’re separated into three groups- Paint and Appaloosa are the biggest communities (I think we were up to 17 towards the end). Palamino is smaller, due to a smaller living space. However, you will get some interaction with the other girls in different communities during certain groups and during chapel. I’ll add too that around the holiday season there are typically less girls due to people wanting to be home for the holiday, but you’ll see that after Christmas, more people will come in.
+When were you there? 12 December 2007-10 February 2008.
+Describe the average day:
-Wake up/throw on gown to be weighed by 5:45 (for those with NG tubes, this happens everyday except weekends, and for those without, this occurs on MWF).
-If you have medications (most do), take them at 6-6:30.
-Breakfast at ~6:40.
-Cardio walk outside (if you are in your ideal weight range), then therapy/group.
-Snack at ~10:15.
-Lunch at ~12:40.
-Snack at ~3:30.
-Phones open for weekday calls at 5, I believe.
-Chapel (M-F mandatory, no chapel on Sat, and Sun is optional) at ~5:30?
-Dinner at 6:50.
-Free time until snack at ~8:20.
-Rooms open to get ready for bed at 9.
-Lights out by 10.
+What were meals like? There are many options throughout the time you are there, and they are much better than “typical” hospital food. You are allowed to pick what you want to eat out of three meal options for breakfast/lunch/dinner, as long as you do so the day before, using their “Daily Bread” system.
+What sorts of food were available or served?
-Breakfast: Eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, french toast dippers with syrup, muffins with butter, tropical fruit parfait, toast, cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, waffles. (Allowed one cup of regular/decaf coffee or tea if you are able to completely finish your meal without supplementing.)
-Lunch: Sandwiches, soup, etc. Typical lunch food. (Allowed one cup of decaf coffee or tea if finished completely without supplementing.)
-Dinner: Chicken, lasagne, fish, sandwiches, soup, pizza, burgers. Again, typical dinner food. (Allowed one cup of decaf coffee or tea if you finish without supplementing.)
-Snacks: String cheese, carrots with dip, chips, cookies, apple with peanut butter, banana, animal crackers, cereal and milk, pudding, GORP (type of yummy trail mix), yoghurt, etc.
Did they supplement for unfinished meals/snacks? How did that system work? Yes, they did supplementing. They used Ensure (not Ensure Plus), and they had a minimum amount that they would give you, despite how much you actually had left. You could refuse the Ensure, but this would go into your record as a “refusal of programme.”
+Does it work on a level system? There are levels of Red, Yellow, and Green. It’s not based on performance, but by your medical health and progression in the programme. Red status: you always have to have the toilet flushed, cannot go to groups, etc. Yellow status: you can do practically anything and you are progressing in the programme. Green: the most lenient status, and you are allowed all privileges for the most part. Your treatment team will explain this better. There is an exception of “On Transport”: you cannot walk to groups/have to be transported in a people mover, due to low weight or medical issues.
+What sort of groups do they have? Art, Recreational, One-on-Ones with your therapist/other staff, Feelings Check, Spiritual Growth, Nutrition, Body Image, Equine, Chapel, Challenge Course (ropes and rock wall), Meal Challenges, Action Pass I and II, Form (a kind of Christian meditation/yoga) etc. One-in-Ones include: Equine, Body Image, Equine, Canine, Challenge Course, and Nutrition.
+What was your favorite group? Probably Art because I’m pretty creative and enjoyed working with our hands. Also like Canine one-on-one and Action Passes. Well, of course!
+What did you like the most? The entire programme was truly as amazing as they come- of course, there is a lot of hard work, and if you want recovery, you’re going to have to really WORK for it. No treatment centre is a miracle cure/fix.
+What did you like the least? Some of the staff members were a bit cooky and I didn’t like Recreational therapy.
+Would you recommend this program? Absolutely. Go the longest you can, work hard, and see if you can do their step-down residential programme at Remuda Life in Chandler, AZ.
+What level of activity or exercise was allowed? For those at their IBW, you were allowed to do Cardio Walk, which was about a 15-30 mn walk around the grounds. I was not able to do this, as I did not hit my ideal weight range while there. For those on yellow and green, you were allowed to do Form, which is a slow form of Christian yoga/meditation and Rec therapy. If you were off transport, you were allowed to walk to groups around the facility.
+What did people do on weekends? Assignments from Remuda binder, talk, watch Disney movies (G rated only), DocTalk group.
+Do you get to know your weight? No, blind weights.
+How fast is the weight gain process? ~2-3 pounds a week.
+What was the average length of stay? 45-60 days.
+What was the average age range? They have an adolescent programme and adult programme- I was at Rio Adult Programme and knew women from 18 to 63 years old.
+What kind of aftercare do they provide? Do they help you set up an OP treatment team? Remuda Life and YES.
1) Basically, during “Family Week,” your family will come and more than likely stay in the family suites accommodations the Sunday before you start the five-day therapy (+ 2 days pass). On Monday, you are transported to a separate facility everyday directly after breakfast in order to do ~8 hours of therapy with your family + a couple other families. If you choose to do so, other than family week, your family can come visit you for visiting hours on weekends, and therapists can set up teleconferences with your family as well to do more sorta “one-on-one” family therapy. It all depends on your situation, but they most certainly do not push family away if you want to involve them in your recovery.2) Okay, so, horse riding is pretty often- first you do one group session grooming them and being taught things about them/riding/saddling. If I can remember correctly, you have to be on “green status” to be able to do a ride around the grounds. Also, if you have osteopenia, they make you sign a waiver that you understand the dangers if you were to fall. If you have osteoporosis (full-blown), they typically (according to their judgment) don’t want you to ride at all. While I was there, I didn’t yet have osteopenia, but I had a broken tailbone (due to seizures from the ED before RR), so I only rode twice- once for practise, and then the second time during the Family Week rodeo (where your family comes to the facility and will watch you perform in a little cheesy but fun rodeo).
Challenge Course: Basically, this is a lot of up-in-the-air ropes courses + rock wall + zip line! It is a very fun, but scary, but challenging, but rewarding experience. You have to be on “yellow status” to be able to do this. If I remember correctly, you do ropes courses once a week.
*Read some of my other posts to figure out what the statuses mean.
3) Typically, when you come in, tube feeding is something your dietitian will recommend at her own discretion. It just has to do with how your team believes you will handle weight restoration and if it would be medically necessary to tube you. This means, for example, will you be able to gain the recommended weight in the time you are there using supplements (not as effective)? I have found that they typically do tubes at <80% IBW, but that is not set in stone. It’s allllll up to your team, and you don’t HAVE to take the tube, of course, since you have come voluntarily. You can always opt to do the supplements (Ensure Plus, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfasts, metabolic additions).
4) From what I’ve heard, the VA ranch is much more laid back at the moment, due to it being a “smaller” facility. They only have one community of girls; whereas, AZ has three communities (Appaloosa, Paint, and Palomino). But basically, they follow the same guidelines, and have the same opportunities. Weather is a bit different between the two, since AZ is a cold/hot desert, and VA is well…east coast! Note: They cancel Challenge Course if the temperature falls below 32 degrees typically, due to frost. Also, if it is raining (and snowing if in VA, I assume) for safety precautions.