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Renfrew-FL

I’ve been to Renfrew in Florida, i was there for 4 months late last year. It is okay, however as other people have said there is a lot of drama. I felt like most of the patients there didn’t actually want recovery and weren’t trying hard, they were rebelling a lot and there were some fights about food and weight. However my therapist was really good and nice and caring, she really helped me a lot, my nutritionist was good as was all the staff there, i felt like the staff were really nice. some of the girls there were a bit mean, as you know anorexics get competitive about weight and how ‘sick you are’, etc, and I felt a lot of competitiveness going on in the clinic. Also my room-mate purged like every night, and she said if I told anyone she would kill herself and it would be all my fault. I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to help her but her threat held me back. We had bathrooms attatched to the rooms so you could purge which she did, I tried talking to her about it but it didn’t change.

Also when I was there this girl who had been there for just over a month, she has gained back to a normal healthy BMI, and as soon as she did she was discharged, she wasn’t even ready to go home, she may have been okay physichally but emotionally she was still in her eating disorder. So yeah, once you reach your target weight, from then on your on your own.

 

When were you there –> June 16, 2008 to July 31, 2008
Describe the average day –> you wake up and get in line for weights
and vitals, which have to be done from 5:00-7:30 A.M. Then most ppl
got back in bed until breakfast, which is at 8. Group from
9:00-10:15ish and another from about 10:45-11:45. Lunch at 12, more
groups and appointments blahblahblah, dinner at 6, groups (whooo…)
and then you have to go to bed.
What were meals like? –> they worked on an exchange system. there was
three meal plans, A, B, and C, but they were hardly different. B was
just a little more than A and C a little more than B. They give you an
hour for lunch and dinner but most ppl finish before the time is up
and then you just have to get a staff member to check your tray and
then you can throw it out. then people usually fill out their food
journals; we loved to play games at the table while I was there.
What sorts of food were available or served? –> surprisingly good
stuff in my opinion. if you’re a vegetarian you’ll be good here.
breakfast was always cereal or bagels which was kinda boring but for
lunch and dinner they had like portobello mushroom sandwiches and
hummus and stuff. they also had pizza and lots of salads, etc.
Did they supplement? How did that system work? –> yup. a <50%
finished meal was punished with two boost pluses, and >50% you had to
drink one. if you were on a weight gain plan then your nutritionist
might add more boost pluses at supplement times, which were at 10:15
A.M, 2:00, and 8:00 and 10:00 P.M. I think
What priveleges are allowed? –> see the level system. also you can
use the phone if you’re not in a group or session. uh, if your an
adolescent you can have your parents come visit you at night. adults
can too after level 2.
Does it work on a level system? –> yup. you start out on level 1. if
you’re bad, you go down to partial when you have to sit in a room from
8:00 in the morning-9:30 at night unless you have to go to a group and
then someone has to escort you. if you’re even worse, you’ll be on
full. you can’t even leave the room with an escort. if you’re good
though, you can go to level 2 and then you can swim! and level 3 you
can leave campus to go to the beach or the movies or the mall! level 4
which no one gets to i think you can use the internet or order from a
restaurant or whatever.
What sort of groups do they have? –> these gay pointless ones like
emotion regulation and self-esteem and mother-daughter relationships
blah. then there were anorexic and bulimic eating patterns; also
psychodrama and movement. yoga. sexuality. community. after-meal
support. they have special track groups. if your therapist decides you
should go to emotional eating, substance abuse, or survivor tracks,
she’ll send ya there.
What was your favorite group? –> mostly they were all pretty boring.
but psychodrama or the movement therapy probably if I had to choose.
What did you like the most? –> uhh, the food? lol and my therapist
What did you like the least? –> the fact that they made working out
seem like a capital offense
Would you recommend this program? –> maybe for some people. not for me though.
What level of activity or exercise was allowed? –> NOT SHIT!!! this
was the biggest issue I had with Renfrew was there NAZI policy on
exercise. it just so happens that I am a very hyper person by nature
and I have severe ADHD and hate sitting still; I am very active and
energetic. Besides, I don’t have exercise problems nor am I
underweight. But Renfrew didn’t take that into account. They refused
to look at my particular situation and basically punished me for the
most ridiculous things. stretching, sitting too tall in my chair,
fidgeting, lifting my leg…NO! YOUR TRYING TO BURN CALORIES!
seriously? FML
What did people do on weekends? –> uhhh, for me, sit on my ass and
watch TV. If you were on level 3, you could go out on pass, maybe have
lunch group at a restaurant or go to the beach or movies for an
excursion. and then the rest of the time you could sit on your ass and
watch TV.
Do you get to know your weight? –> Some people do but a lot of us
were put on blind weight.
How fast is the weight gain process? –> I didn’t have to gain weight.
But I think that if you do, they like a minimum of +1 lb. per week,
right?
What was the average length of stay? –> 1-3 months
What was the average age range? –> For a long time I was the youngest
person in residential! (I was 15) but then they started having 14 year
olds which I think was the youngest. I would say the bulk of the girls
were college or just-out-of-college aged, maybe 19-24ish. But they
were older women there too.
What kind of aftercare do they provide? Do they help you set up an OP
treatment team? –> they have an aftercare provider who sets up all
your appointments for when you get home.
How many IP beds? How many patients in PHP or IOP? –> when I was
there I think there was about 55 girls most of the time.

 

Individual therapy was 3x/week, nutrition once/week, psychiatrist once/week. Group therapy is daily and there are usually about 5-6 groups each day, during the week. Therapy sessions are usually 45minutes – 1 hour. Group size depends upon the size of the community…and different people attend different groups so it can range anywhere from 3 or 4 to 35 or more (like in community group where everyone attends).

Examples of meals are like veggie burger with cheese or turkey burger or grilled chicken sandwich, eggplant or chicken parmesan with pasta, beans with cheese and cous cous, meat or tofu stir-fry, taco salad with meat or beans, veggie cheese or grilled chicken pizza, grilled cheese with tomato soup, meat loaf or vegetarian loaf, pasta with beef sauce or TVP sauce, broccoli/cheese quiche or roast beef sandwich, stuffed peppers with rice and beef or TVP, etc. With lunch you will have to a dairy, a fruit, a vegetable, and two fats in addition to an entree (and an additional starch if you are on Menu C). With dinner, you have to have a vegetable, two fats, and a dairy in addition to that (and an extra fruit if you’re on Menu C). Breakfast is always either pancakes or french toast, cereal with toast or a bran or blueberry muffin, a bagel which you can either get a dairy with or get scrambled eggs instead of the dairy. And with breakfast you always need a dairy and a fruit in addition to that, and one fat (two fats if you are on Menu C). All their food is pretty good, I only really disliked a couple of things. If you don’t like something, you can sub out three times a week but only on independent eating.
There is still a trauma track.
Desserts are mandatory. You have to have three a week, or two a week if you’re on Menu A. You can get more desserts if you want by adding them on, or if you’re on independent eating you can use them as a fat as often as you want until the nutritionist yells at you for eating too many desserts (wtf?) If you’re on independent eating, you can choose to have your mandatory two or three desserts any time you want and choose what they can be, but if you’re on trays, you have to have them on certain days and they will be certain things.
If you don’t finish, you have to do a Boost. You have to do two Boosts if you finish under a certain percent, which I think is 50% but I’m not totally sure. I’m not quite sure what happens if you refuse to do a Boost after not finishing a meal…I’m sure the repercussion vary widely depending on if you’ve done it before or have done other things wrong (and probably also, quite honestly, on how much the staff likes you.) I’m sure that the most standard punishment for not finishing a meal and refusing the supplement is dropping you a level.
They say the average weight gain is 1-2 pounds per week, but I gained faster than that at the beginning. Probably depends on your body. And if you are a purger, your body will hang onto a lot of water right after you start eating again and are not purging, so you will probably gain more than 2 lbs the first week you are there.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.edtreatmentreview.com/2012/06/29/renfrew-fl-2/

11 comments

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  1. Mallory

    I agree with a few of the posters, the drama and relapse rate has kept me away from anything involving this place. I cannot explain how depressed this place got me. And it definately made my ED worse. I came in at a low weight for my height the first time, but seeing some of the girls and listening to them just totally fed my eating disorder. It seemed like every day someone was getting in a fight or trying to off themself. I eventually ran away at one point :/ Five people I know from Renfrew have now passed away from eating disorders or suicide. Its been 2 years. Come on Renfrew.

  2. L

    Has anyone been to Renfrew in both FL and PA and could compare the two?

  3. Nancy

    Sarah- the psychiatrist that was there when I was there wasn’t a med pusher! When I went in, the only psych med I was on was Ambien for sleep, and nothing else was added while I was there. The psych made a handful of suggestions, but never tried to make me agree to take them (in stark contrast to the other places I’ve been!)

  4. anonymous

    Get ready for a really long review, because I’ve spent quite a bit of time there. (Also because I love this website and know how helpful it can be to know what things are going to be like before you get there.) Sorry if this is too much detail! And let me know if you have any questions.

    – When were you there? –
    About six months in 2010, and about four months in 2011.

    – Describe the average day. –
    5:30-7:45 — weights and vitals, go back to sleep if you have time
    8:00-8:45 — breakfast
    7:15-7:50 — morning meds (if you’re late, they generally won’t give you your meds until after breakfast)
    9:15-10:00 — group
    10:15 — snack
    10:15-11:00 — group (this group only happens a few days out of each week)
    11:00-11:50 — group
    12:00-12:50 — lunch (Once a week, each therapist has MST (Mealtime Support Therapy) with all of his/her clients. Generally we set a goal for the meal (e.g, staying present, working on pacing, finishing 100%), and we ate and had light conversations (not anything intense or “therapeutic”); at the end of the meal, we’d discuss how we did on our goal.)
    1:00-1:45 — aftermeal (a group to “process” how our meals went)
    2:15 — snack
    3:00-3:50 — group
    5:00-5:50 — group
    6:00-6:50 — supper
    7:00-7:50 — Evening Wrap-Up or Evening Relaxation (On the weekends, we did a second Aftermeal instead of group. On Sundays, there’s another group after Aftermeal.)
    8:45 — snack
    9:00-9:30 — optional group
    10:00 — snack
    I can post a sample schedule if anyone is interested, although it might have changed since I left (fall of 2011).
    In between groups is usually free time. Therapy, nutrition, psychiatry, and any needed nursing/doctor’s appointments are scheduled throughout the day. Sometimes, they’ll pull people out of group for appointments.

    – What sort of groups do they have? –
    Art therapy, community (to discuss issues affecting the residents as a community, to ask for support, to “confront” other people, etc.), meal planning, Peer Relationships, father-daughter relationships, mother-daughter relationships, The Family in Recovery, Body-Mind Experiential (movement therapy), Student Support (for people who are still in school), body image, Life After Loss, psych rounds, substance abuse groups, trauma groups, “Thirty-Something and Beyond” groups (for people 30+), Anorexic/Bulimic/Emotional Eating Patterns, boundaries, aftermeal, Power of Now, Anger Expression, self-esteem, Women in the Media, Life After Renfrew, movie night, Mindful Awareness (DBT), Emotion Regulation (DBT), Soul Writings (creative writing group), psychodrama, pet therapy, and Inspiration Celebration.

    – What were meals like? –
    Most people eat in the dining room, at a couple of big tables. Staff walks around and monitors the meals. Depending on what tray level you’re on (I’ll explain below), a staff member may sit at the table for support at lunch and supper. (Staff is supposed to follow our meal plans when they eat with patients, although in my experience, that does not always happen.) People usually try to keep a light conversation going or play games during meals.
    There are four/five types of structure at meal times. Most people come in on “trays.” On trays, you fill out a menu sheet a week in advance. Staff puts everything on the trays for you, checks your tray, and signs your menu sheet before and after meals. At breakfast, you use your already-filled-out menu sheet, go through a sort of cafeteria line, and either get or are served the food. Everything is already portioned out for you, and staff always checks trays and signs off on menu sheets, so it’s really not as scary or as challenging as it may seem.
    On “Independent Eating” (IE), staff still checks trays and sign menus before and after meals, but you’re supposed to choose your food “in the moment” (rather than a week in advance). People on IE go through the line and get their own food (everything but the salad bar is portioned out by the kitchen staff). IE people also eat at a separate table, choose their seats, and don’t have staff sitting at the table. (But staff still walks around the dining room and monitors everyone.) Also, you can get ice with your water at lunch and supper (which may not seem like a big deal, but it can be exciting after months in treatment).
    “Fix-Owns” (FO) is basically the same as IE, except that you don’t get menu sheets, By this point, you’re supposed to know your meal plan well enough to not need them, although FO folks usually end up looking at IE people’s menus. On FO, you don’t have to get your trays checked or menus signed off by staff. There’s also “Intuitive Eating,” but basically no one ever gets it, so I don’t know anything about it. (I knew literally one person in my entire ten or so months there that got onto Intuitive Eating.)
    Another structure used for meals is… well, it’s the same as “trays,” except that you eat in a smaller dining room (it was the Community Room, but now it’s the “Staff Dining Room”). You eat with less people, which means closer staff supervision. Generally, it’s for people on lower levels. In other words, it’s usually for people who are medically compromised, struggling to follow their meal plan, and/or struggling to keep themselves safe in some other way. Putting a bunch of people who are struggling into one room can be triggering and can make it very hard (e.g., I was once in there with only one other patient, who consistently refused to complete her meals). However, because it’s a smaller group, it can also become a very close and supportive group. Starting in the smaller dining room also helped me with my anxiety around eating in front of other people.

    – What sorts of food were available or served? –
    Renfrew works on the exchange system. There’s Menu A, B, and C. Each menu has a certain number of exchanges that are required at each meal — protein, dairy protein, starch, vegetable, fruit, and fat/dessert. There is a vegetarian option available at each meal. However, they do not accommodate vegans, regardless of how long you’ve been a vegan or your reasons for being vegan. They accommodate people who keep Kosher. If you have food allergies, they require a specific type of note or test or something (I can’t remember what) from your doctor. If you have that, they’ll make accommodations for food allergies, including lactose-intolerance and gluten allergies (although the gluten-free meals apparently get very boring and repetitive).
    I think some of the other reviews have listed specific foods that were served, so check those out if you’re interested.

    – Did they supplement? How did that system work? –
    Yes. They supplement with Boost Plus for people who don’t complete meals. Supplements (Boost Plus) and/or snacks may also be added to your meal plan, as determined by your nutritionist. They also supplement one Boost Plus as needed for people who lose a certain amount of weight overnight. (I believe it was 0.5 lbs.)

    – Does it work on a level system? –
    Yes.
    Level 1 — Most people come in on Level 1. On this level, you can walk yourself to groups and leave the Dayroom / Community Room (CR) whenever you want. However, I think most people also start on Escorts after meals and snacks. During escort times, you have to be either with staff or in the dayroom, and you have to count/sing/talk to staff while using the restroom with the door cracked open. I think people on Level 1 only get visitors on the weekends (except for adolescents), and they don’t get meals with visitors. People have to be on Level 1 for at least one week before getting moved up to Level 2.
    Level 2 — Level 2 means you’re “medically cleared,” which means you can can go out in the sun, participate in yoga and exercise groups, go to the pool, eat with visitors, and have visitors on weekdays. You generally have to be on Level 2 for two weeks before Level 3.
    Level 3 — People on this level go on (mandatory) weekend excursions with staff (e.g., seeing movies, going to the mall, going to the beach, going bowling; transportation is covered, but other than that, you have to cover your own expenses). You can also go on pass (without staff), either by yourself or with other patients. The downside is you have to arrange and pay for your own transportation, which is expensive, unless you have your own car or go with other patients. On Level 3, aftermeal after lunch is optional (aftermeal after supper is not). If you finish your meal early, you can leave the dining room early (I think after 40 minutes). People on Level 3 also participate in the grocery store tour and a weekly cooking group (where you prepare and eat a meal as a group).
    Level 4 — Privileges on Level 4 include: more time to go on pass, access to the “Advanced Recovery Living Room” (ARLR), and the ability to use your cell phone and computer. I think you also get a key to the fridge in the ARLR, where you can store food and snacks you bring in for yourself. I can’t really remember all the details, as I wasn’t on this level for very long.
    Full Bed Rest — Generally this is for people who are below a certain percentage of their “ideal body weight” and/or people who are less medically stable (although you have to be medically stable to a certain extent in order to be admitted to Renfrew). Full bed rest can be incredibly boring — basically, you only leave the room for meals in the staff dining room, your treatment team will come to you for appointments, and you get wheeled around in a wheelchair (incidentally, Renfrew is NOT wheelchair-accessible, which is a COMPLETE FAIL). Bed rest usually doesn’t last too long, though — only long enough to get you more stable. Generally, people on bed rest cannot go to groups, but one of my roommates was able to convince her team to let her go to aftermeal and evening wrap-up, since she was on bed rest for so long. People on bed rest have to count/sing/talk to staff while using the restroom with the door cracked open. If I recall correctly, the bathroom is also locked during the day, so you have to ask for a staff person to unlock it for you.
    Full Day Room (FDR) — Usually FDR is for people who are either medically unstable, at lower weights, using symptoms, or struggling to keep themselves safe in some other way (e.g., self-harm, suicidal ideation, flight risk). On FDR, you’re in the dayroom/community room (CR) from 8:00am – 9:30pm (this means all groups are in the CR, which obviously limits your options and can get super boring). People on FDR eat in the Staff Dining Room. People on FDR have to count/sing/talk to staff while using the restroom with the door cracked open.
    Partial dayroom (PDR) — PDR is basically the same as FDR, except that staff escorts you to groups outside of the CR. You can also eat in the main dining room with everyone else, although sometimes they will put PDR people in the staff dining room when they are struggling with completing meals. People on PDR have to count/sing/talk to staff while using the restroom with the door cracked open.

    – What privileges are allowed? –
    Privileges generally vary based on levels, as described above.

    – How do you earn privileges? –
    By being compliant with treatment — following your meal plan, attending group, not using symptoms, “keeping yourself safe,” etc.

    – What was your favorite group? –
    Art therapy, definitely.

    – What did you like the most? –
    My therapist! Also excellent: art therapy, the art therapist, movement therapy, and the other patients (usually).

    – What did you like the least? –
It’s hard to pick, but I still find it discouraging to think about the high rate of relapse post-treatment. It seems to come with the territory when treating eating disorders, so I think it’s probably common regardless of where you go. However, it seems like Renfrew has a lot of… well, as one patient once put it, “repeat offenders.” (Having been there twice, I include myself in this category and I hope this doesn’t come across as judgmental of the patients. If anything, I’m questioning Renfrew’s efficacy.) My first time there, I met a patient who was in residential treatment at Renfrew for her seventh or eighth time. When I kept in touch with people after treatment, it sometimes felt like a lot of us were just cycling in and out of Renfrew. I relapsed within a day or two of getting out the first time, and struggled a lot for a year or more after getting out the second time. (I’m doing much better now, thanks to the help of my outpatient team and the threat of being sent back to treatment.)
    Other things I disliked: After being there for more than a month or two, groups started to get incredibly repetitive. Worksheets were recycled quite a bit, and I can’t even count the number of “coping skills” lists and “pros and cons of having an eating disorder” lists I wrote up. The “Medical Consequences of ED” group was also repetitive, in addition to being poorly run and generally unhelpful, bordering on harmful (basically, it was an opportunity for people to swap horror stories and brag about how sick they got). Also, depending on what the community is like (it changes every few weeks, as new patients come in), things can get a bit “competitive.” I think it’s subconscious, mostly, but there still is a bit of an unspoken competition as to who can be “the sickest,” or who was “the sickest” before they came in. Sometimes, people will seem like they’re almost bragging about being put on escorts or FDR or PDR, getting a Stage IV (a written assignment for breaking the rules), being noncompliant, etc. It’s easy to get sucked into it. The exercise program was also disappointing (see below).

    – What level of activity or exercise was allowed? –
    There’s an exercise group (“Exercise A”) twice a week at ~6:30am. We mostly just walked around the parking lot, skipped for one lap, and then did a bit of stretching. There’s also a “yoga” group once a week. (I use scare quotes because it was mostly just light stretching, and a lot of laying on the floor “relaxing,” i.e. sleeping.) The patient handbook claims that there is an “Exercise B” group for people who are more medically stable / on higher levels, but that’s complete bullshit. I’ve never met a single person who has ever been in Exercise B. The second time I was there, the yoga/exercise instructor wasn’t able to do yoga for several months. I heard staff members saying that they were looking for a new exercise instructor and were hoping to improve the exercise program, although who knows if that actually panned out. Overall, I think the exercise program was lacking — I never learned what “healthy” exercise looks like, or how to exercise for fun (rather than for disordered/unhealthy reasons).

    – What did people do on weekends? –
    There were groups on weekends, although not as many as on weekdays. We sat around a lot in the community room, knitted/crocheted, watched movies and TV, hung out in the Healing Garden, and took lots of naps. People on Level 2 & above went to the pool, and there were excursions for Level 3&4 folks on Sunday.

    – Do you get to know your weight? –
    It depends. Your nutritionist and the rest of your treatment team will determine if they think it is appropriate for you to know your weight, or if you should be on “blind weights.”

    – How many IP beds? How many patients in PHP or IOP? –
    Renfrew Florida has about 40 residential beds. (I’ve heard Renfrew Philly has around 60.) There are usually at least a few people in the day treatment program, as well as at least a few people in DTLA (which is basically day treatment, but you live there). The size of the IOP program probably varies, but IOP happens three times a week. IOP patients eat meals with residents, and may attend one group before supper with residents. (Other than that, I think they have one or two other groups on their own, with just IOP patients… I’m not sure on the details, as I was never in IOP at Renfrew.)

    – Does it treat both males and females? If so, is treatment separate or combined. –
    Renfrew does not treat men.

    – How often do you see a medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist (therapist), nutritionist, etc? –
    Therapist: three or four times a week for residential, and I think twice a week for days and DTLA. The second time I was there, they started using student therapists or interns or something. I think it was three times a week with the therapist and then twice with the intern / student therapist. Psychiatrist: once a week. Nutritionist: once a week. Medical doctor: as needed, although I think we generally saw the nurse practitioner rather than the doctor.

    – What sort of therapies are used? (DBT, CBT, EMDR) etc? –
    I think mostly DBT.

    – What is the policy of not complying with meals? –
    If you don’t complete your meals, you get supplemented with Boost Plus. If you refuse to complete the supplement, there are consequences, such as: a Stage IV contract (basically a punitive written assignment), getting dropped a level (or dropped down to PDR/FDR). Depending on your weight or how medically stable you are, there may be other consequences. (For instance, I was threatened with a tube and with getting sent back to the hospital.) Eventually, if you continue to refuse to be compliant, I’m guessing they might ask you to leave?

    – How fast is the weight gain process? –
    It might be different for everyone, but I had to sign a contract agreeing to 2-4 pounds per week.

    – What was the average length of stay? –
    Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with insurance. Some people had awful insurance companies that kicked them out after a week or two, but I think most probably stay at least a month or two. I knew a patient who was there for around a year, but I think that was very rare.

    – What was the average age range? –
    14 was the youngest they’d accept for residential treatment. A lot of patients were teenagers or in their 20s, but there were quite a few patients in their 30s-40s and up, and even one or two patients in their 60s-70s. It really varied. And it seemed like people were able to relate to each other and connect regardless of age.

    – How do visits/phone calls work? –
    There are phones available for patients to use. You’ll need a pre-paid calling card. If I recall correctly, people on bed rest and FDR/PDR could only use the phones during certain times. They changed the visiting system toward the end of my second stay. I think visitors have to be pre-approved or have a visitor’s pass or something, and you can give staff a list of people whom you don’t want to visit. I can’t remember the details. It may have changed since I left.

    – Are you able to go out on passes? –
    Yes, on Levels 3 and 4 (see level system for details.)

    – What kind of aftercare do they provide? Do they help you set up an OP treatment team? –
    You meet with an aftercare coordinator once a week to talk about how things are going and to plan for your discharge. They’ll set you up with days/PHP or IOP back where you live, if necessary; they’ll find you a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, and nutritionist for OP treatment. They can also work with you to sort out other things, to help you transition back to “the real world” (e.g., housing, employment, volunteer opportunities, school/classes).

    – Are there any resources for people who come from out of state/country? –
    Yes. I came from out of state, and my aftercare coordinator helped me to find a treatment team and an IOP program in my city.

    – Would you recommend this program? –
    Yes. As with any other program, there are downsides. But I think overall, I would recommend it.

  5. LJ

    I was wondering if people in treatment at Renfrew are ever able to have REGULAR snacks instead of supplements. For instance, if we work with our nutritionist, can we have an afternoon and nighttime snack instead of a supplement? Thanks so much

    1. anonymous

      They do let some people have snacks instead of supplements, but I’m not sure how they decide who can/can’t. My guess is that if you have a significant amount of weight to restore, they prefer that you do supplements. Sometimes, if your meal plan gets increased past a certain point, you do a supplement AND a snack at the same snack time.

    2. C

      you really don’t have a say in whether you do supplements or snacks honestly. sometimes the nutritionist will work with you- mine let me do snacks instead of supplements, but i had to do the highest calorie snack available. but she was also kind of easy on me most of the time to be honest. i think it depends on who you get as your nutritionist, there are 4 of them and i doubt any of the other 3 would have let me do that.

    3. Nancy

      As the others mentioned, some people just had boost plus for “snacks”, some people had food. Some people had both. For the most part, whether a patient got supplements or whole foods seemed to depend on how much weight restoration they had left to go! The snack options were pretty paltry though (at least when I was there in 2008 and 2009!), I think there were like 3 cereal choices, and maybe 2 or 3 other options. A lot of people didn’t have snacks at all… I always did, but I think only around 1/3 or so of the patients had snacks.

  6. C

    Renfrew Florida

    When were you there:
    2012

    What were meals like?
    Meals operated on an exchange system, and there were three meal plans: A, B, and C (A was the lowest intake and C was the highest; B is the what most patients were on). Breakfast on meal plan B consists of three exchanges of starch, one of dairy protein, one of fruit and one of fat. Lunch was three starches, three proteins, one dairy protein, one fruit, one vegetable, and two fats. Patients were allowed to substitute two meals a week for either peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad, egg salad, or chicken salad. Twice a week hummus was also available. Desserts were required three times a week.

    Average Day:
    5:30-7:30am Weights and vitals
    8-8:45am Breakfast
    9:15-10am Group
    11am-12pm Group
    12-1pm Lunch
    1-2pm After meal group
    3-4pm Group
    5-6pm Group
    6-7pm Dinner
    7-8pm Evening Wrap Up
    9-9:30pm Cope (optional group)
    9:30pm Dayroom closes

    What sorts of food were available or served?
    Breakfast was the same every week- a croissant on Monday (cheese and butter were the required dairy protein and fat), cereal and toast on Tuesday, french toast or pancakes on Wednesday, cereal and a blueberry muffin on Thursday, bagels on Friday, french toast or pancakes on Saturday, and cereal and a bran muffin on Sunday (as well as dairy protein, fruit, and fat). Some examples of lunches are hamburgers/turkey burgers/garden burgers, salads, wraps, and pizza. Dinner exchanges were the same as lunch exchanges, minus the fruit. Some dinners were chili, baked potatoes, eggplant parmesan, and shepherd’s pie. Menus are on a four-week rotation, however there are certain items that repeat themselves more frequently (shepherd’s pie twice a month and pizza once a week, for example).

    Did they supplement? How did that system work?
    They supplement using Boost Plus. If you finished anything less than 100% of your meal you had to drink two boosts, and anything less than 50% is one boost. Patients on weight gain were given a boost if they lost a half a pound or more. Patients on weight gain are also often put on supplements in addition to meals.

    What privileges are allowed?
    There are certain times in the day when patients are allowed to use the phones, which is a given thing you’re allowed to do unless it is otherwise specified (I’ve only seen it happen a couple of times). Visitors are allowed on weekends and holidays for adults (at 2-4pm and 8-9:3-pm, I think) and adolescents are allowed visitors during the evening on weekdays as well. Level one allows pet passes (although I’d been given them on lower levels so this may be inaccurate), level two allows you to sit in the sun and go to the pool, level three allows you on excursion (Sunday afternoons with a staff member) and on pass, as well as the opportunity to sign up for a massage. Level four allowed you use of your cell phone in the building and access to the level four recovery lounge (which I’ve never been in, but apparently it has diet coke and apparently that’s a big deal). Yoga and morning walks for exercise are also a thing but I’m not sure who gets to do that.

    Does it work on a level system?
    Yes. There are levels 1-4, and three levels below that: bed rest, partial day room, and full day room. On bed rest, patients must stay in bed all day and are taken in a wheel chair to the dining room for meals. Most of the time they are also on therapy restriction (which can also occur on full). Full day room means the patient must stay in the day room all day (from right after breakfast at 8:45 to 9:30pm when the day room closes), must be escorted by staff if leaving the room for any reason, and must attend all groups in the day room with the exception of a couple of groups that they are allowed to attend in other parts of the campus. Partial day room is basically the same as full except you are allowed to go to groups outside the day room, but must still be escorted by staff. Patients on full and partial must also count or otherwise display their voices while using the bathroom. Level one allows you to pretty much walk around the property as you please (within reason, of course), and the privileges for levels 2-4 are explained in the question above.

    What sort of groups do they have?
    Most were here’s-a-handout-let’s-talk-about-it kind of groups. They’re also pretty big on DBT. Twice a week we had a group called “building a healthy community” in which patients presented Stage Ones (written assignments given as punishment basically but they try to pass it off as it being helpful to you, it’s not) and issues in the community were discussed. There are also what they call tracks: trauma, drugs and alcohol, young adult (under 21) and 30s and beyond. Art groups, for example, are divided into tracks, but there are also things like trauma process and drug and alcohol education and things like that. The tracks also kind of have levels within them- you start out on the first level of the track, and as you make progress they move you up to groups that are a bit more intense within the track.

    What was your favorite group?
    Art was always fun, community was usually dumb but has the potential to be really entertaining. A woman named Regina came in one day a week to run Anorexic Eating Patterns, which was a favorite for anyone who was in it (because she’s brilliant, not because anorexic eating patterns are particularly interesting).

    What did you like the most?
    The three staff members who were actually competent.

    What did you like the least?
    The corrupt way in which the place is managed.

    Would you recommend this program?
    Absolutely not.

    What level of activity or exercise was allowed?
    I know there is a minimal amount of exercise allowed, but I never quite got there so I’m not sure of the specifics.

    What did people do on weekends?
    Weekends were basically the same in structure, but somehow managed to drag on so much slowly than weekdays. The only main difference is that visitors are allowed at 2-4pm and that groups are a bit more light (Team Building is an example).

    Do you get to know your weight?

    Most people are on blind weights, but rarely there’ll be someone who is allowed to see theirs.

    How fast is the weight gain process?
    2 pounds a week

    What was the average length of stay?
    I think most patients stay residential for about 30 days.

    What was the average age range?
    14 is the youngest they take, and the oldest I’ve seen I think has been early 60s.

    What kind of aftercare do they provide? Do they help you set up an OP treatment team?
    They have a day program and IOP program which some patients step down to. They have aftercare staff who you meet with once a week (kind of useless but whatever, gets you out of group) who help you find an outpatient therapist, psychiatrist, and dietitian.

    How many IP beds? How many patients in PHP or IOP?
    40 beds, and I’m not sure what the limit is for PHP and IOP, but I’ve seen each have like 15 patients. IOP don’t really interact much with residential patients and start program after day patients leave.

  7. Sarah

    is renfrew big about putting patients on meds? do they let you stay on the meds you’re on if you say you think they’re working ok or do they try to change it? or does anyone not end up on meds at all?

    1. L

      It was my choice to try to go off meds while I was there due to the medical support I would have, Renfrew did support me in this desicion and by the time I left I was med free. i have to say it made my stay very difficult due to all the withdrawals and side effects, and of course once I left within a couple of months I realized I needed meds mostly to control my anxiety and depression, so while I was on day treatment with Renfrew back home I was put back on meds, again my choice. I do think it depends which psychiatrist you get how much your desicions are supported.

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