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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,
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/


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  1. Maddy

    Treatment was awful. Therapy got repetitive and pointless, the patients medical needs were neglected, nurses seemed annoyed when patients had needs, the place In general has excessive amounts of drama, the rules are malleable, and some of my fellow patients and I got out in worse condition. Now this is A personal view as being a patient because many others have found it successful.

  2. B

    Hey, im trying to get into their day program. Can someone tell me what it’s like? Please and thank you.

  3. Arienne

    Does anyone know what the day treatment in bethesda is like?

    1. Aviva

      When I was there the last time (late 2013-early 2014) it was not good. Understaffed, not a whole lot of therapy options. I think Renfrew is good for some people, but I don’t know if they are effective for people with longstanding EDs or trauma histories. They seemed to have gotten more rigid and authoritarian.

  4. Magdalena

    Hi I’m going In to Renfrew in Phil . How are the rules , meals , visitation. Can I have my iPod and iPhone ? Can I bring my own car ? What stuff I can bring what stuff I can’t not bring

  5. C

    When were you there: December 9, 2013- March 26, 2014 (res and IOP)
    How many patients on average? 30-40
    Does it treat both males and females? If so, is treatment separate or combined.
    – just females
    How often do you see a medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist (therapist), nutritionist, etc?
    As an adolescent I saw my therapist 3-4 times a week and my intern 1-2 times a week. I saw the medical doctor a lot (probably at least once a week) because I had a lot of medical complications. However, some patients only see the medical doctor once or twice their entire stay. It depends on your medical needs. Nutritionist I saw 1 time a week for an official meeting but she was always at breakfast if I had questions (not every nutritionist is though). Aftercare Coordinator 1 time per week. Also, you can see the exercise coordinator, movement therapist, or art therapist for individual sessions if your therapist recommends it.

    What is the staff ratio to patients?

    It depends on the day. Some day there seemed to be as many staff as patients (including therapists, psychiatrists, nurses etc.) but on the weekends it was just 2 counselors and 2 nurses.

    What sort of therapies are used? (DBT, CBT, EMDR) etc?

    I think DBT.

    Describe the average day:

    5-7 am- Wake up, vitals, etc.
    7:15- 8:00- meds and free time (showers can happen here if you are on supervised showers)
    8:00 am- 8:45 am- Breakfast
    8:45 am-9:15 am- Free time, smoke break (if you are an adult), fresh air porch, after breakfast meds
    9:15 am-10:00 am- Group
    10:15 am- Snack
    10:30 am- 11:00 am- Free Time
    11:00 am- 11:45 – Group
    11:45-12:00- Meds
    12:00- 1:00 pm- Lunch
    1:00 pm- 2:00 pm. Aftermeal
    2:00 pm- 2:15 pm- Meds
    2:15 pm- Snack
    3:00 pm – 4:00 pm- Group
    4:00 pm- 5:00 pm- free time
    5:00 pm-5:45 pm- group
    5:45 pm- 6:00 pm Meds
    6:00 pm-7:00 pm- dinner
    7:00 pm- 8:00 pm- Evening Wrap up
    8:15 pm- Snack
    8:15 pm- 9:00 pm- Free time (showers sometimes for patients on supervised showers i think)
    9:00 pm- 10:00 Pm- meds
    9:00 pm- bed for patients on PDR or FDR
    10:00 pm. bed for adolescents, Snack/Supplement for some
    11:00 pm- bed for adults

    * bed times change for adolescents and adults on the weekend and based on who is working.
    ** on mondays, wednesdays and fridays adolescents have school instead of the 9:00 group and have snack at school

    What were meals like?

    It really depends on the day. Some meals were great and some were awful. There are multiple different eating levels.
    Staff dining room- for patients who are struggling to complete meals, using major food rituals and/or have a fear of eating in large rooms (they don’t let you stay in here forever though). This is a small room off of the dining room where there is anywhere between 1 and 15 patients (depending on the community) with 1 staff member who sits at the table. To leave the SDR you have to complete 3 days of 100% of all meals usually.
    Trays- Most people come in on this level. You get a menu on Tuesdays for the following week and have to turn it in on Thursday for your selections for the next week. You cannot sub out of meals on this level usually, and cannot change your meals after you turn them in. You have to get your tray checked and signed before and after you eat. Also, between 1-4 staff members hovers over the tables and watches you eat.
    Independent eating (IE)- on this level you still get a menu, but you go through the line and fill out the menu as you go. You are allowed to sub out 3 meals a week for pb and j, hummus and pita, chicken, tuna, or egg salad sandwich. You get to make your own salad on this level. You also can pick what days you have your desserts (2 for menu A, 3 for menu B or C). You get your menu signed off still before and after you eat. You eat at a separate table with fix own and staff does not watch you as closely.
    Fix own (FO)- On fix own you do not have a menu but you still have to follow all of the exchanges. You do not have to get signed off before and after you eat and you are allowed to eat outside without staff support. Otherwise, same rules as IE.
    Intuitive- I was the only one in my 3-4 months of being there that got on intuitive. The staff didn’t even know what it was until my nutritionist explained it to them. So it is rare. But basically it is the same as FO except you are not required to finish 100% of your meals. You just have to write in your food journal what you do not finish. However, I found that if I knew I was not going to finish 100% I would usually sit outside because it can be triggering to the other patients who are required to finish 100%. You get taken off this level if you do not maintain your weight or they see that you are restricting.

    There are three different meal plans:

    Menu A- mostly everyone comes in on this menu for a week and then gets bumped up
    Menu B- more food than menu A, 3 desserts a week instead of two
    Menu C- menu B with one thing added at each meal.

    In addition, most people have snacks/supplements which happen at 10:15 am, 2:15 pm, 8:15 pm and sometimes 10:00 pm. Renfrew LOVES boost. Pretty much, if you have to gain any weight at all, expect to drink boost. I knew a girl who had 7 boosts in one day once, however, that was rare. Most people wound up with between 1 and 4 a day. You have 15 minutes to complete the boost and for most people, they are really hard on the time limit. At boost times you also have snacks. Most people have at least 1 snack a day, but some have 4 a day. It really depends. My meal plan got added to at least once a week, but that also depends. My nutritionist was amazing though at letting me choose at what time I wanted to add another element.

    What sorts of food were available or served?

    Snacks- Granola bars and juice or milk, chips and juice or milk or cheese stick, cereal and yogurt or milk.

    Meals- breakfast was cereal, pancakes, french toast, croissants, or bagels.
    Lunch – salads, pizza, grilled cheese, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, wraps, sandwiches.
    Dinner- pasta, pizza, chicken, eggplant parm. , lasagna, chicken pot pie etc.

    They orate meals on a 4 week schedule.

    Did they supplement? How did that system work?
    In addition to prescribed supplements (see above) they also did supplements if you did not finish your meal. For this if you finished less than 50% you had 2 supplements and if you finished more than 50% you had one supplement.

    What is the policy of not complying with meals?

    Dropped down levels (or FDR or PDR), stage 1, staff dining room or for some patients a feeding tube.

    Are you able to be a vegetarian?

    Yes but they don’t like it. If it is ED related they might make you have meat at least once a week.

    What privelages are allowed?
    See below
    Does it work on a level system?

    Full/Partial bed rest- basically, you are stuck in bed all day. I have never seen anyone on this though.
    Full day room (FDR)- you have to be in the day room all day. This is usually if you are not compliant, really medically unstable, a threat to your safety (self harm, suicidal etc.). You are not allowed to go to groups outside of the day room and you eat all your meals in the staff dining room. You have to be with a staff member at all times.
    Partial day room (PDR)- Usually if you are not finishing your meals, acting on symptoms, medically unstable etc. You are allowed to eat in the dining room and attend groups outside of the day room but you have to be walked to groups by a staff member. You are not allowed to leave the day room otherwise.
    Level 1- Most people come in on level 1. It means you are not medically cleared and you live on the first floor. You also cannot be in sunlight and cannot go in the pool. Some people get off of this level in a week, but for some (like me) it takes months.
    Level 2- Opportunity to move upstairs. Mindful eating group. Allowed to go to the pool and go in the sun.
    Level 3- Able to go on outings, able to take passes (unless on restricted level 3), eat out once a week with nutritionist, grocery store tour, some special groups. You don’t have to go to lunch after meal. You have to be on IE or FO to be on level 3.
    Level 4- Don’t expect to get here. Only 2 people in my time at Renfrew got to level 4. But level four means you get your cell phone, extended passes, no required after meal.

    Additionally, there are restrictions that can be added on to most levels.

    Locked bathroom- your bathroom is locked except from 6:15 am- 7:45 am and from (9:15 pm-11:00 pm). Otherwise, you have to use the public restroom and count and leave the door cracked. Usually used if they suspect you are purging. But can use it just if you are medically unstable.
    Supervised Locked bathroom- Only allowed to use your bathroom when a staff member is present. And you only get 15 min to use it. You have to talk to a staff member who sits outside the door with it cracked when you shower. This is for patients who are actively using symptoms, exercising in the shower, or medically unstable.
    Door prop- The door to your room has to be open at all times. This is for patients who are exercising or medically unstable.
    Cord restriction- You cannot have any cords, laces etc. For suicidal patients.
    Sharps restriciton- Everyone can only have their sharps on tuesdays and thursdays from 7:00- 7:45 am. However, if you have a history of any self harm you are not allowed to have them at all until your therapist clears you.
    Escorts- for purge protocol. You have to stay with staff 30 min after breakfast and 1 hour after lunch and dinner, get a sheet signed and stay with staff for 45 min usually after all snacks/supplements. You have to count when you go to the bathroom during that time and leave the door cracked.

    How do you earn privileges?

    Each week during rounds you have the opportunity to earn privileges. This is based on how you are doing medically, if you are completing all of your meals, being compliant, taking your meds etc. However, they are pretty strict that if you do not meet the medical guidelines you can’t move up. So if you are doing everything right but your body is not cooperating, then you are not allowed to move up.

    What sort of groups do they have?

    Mindfulness, mindful eating, mother daughter, father daughter, body image, art, coping skills, anger management, relapse prevention etc.

    They also have tracks:

    The adolescent track- you go to school and have a special art group, special process group and special DBT group each week.
    Tramua track- For people who have trauma. I wasn’t on it so i don’t want to speculate about it but I have heard it is a good trauma program.
    30 SAB- for patients over 30. I wasn’t on it but I have heard the ladies like it.

    What was your favorite group?
    What did you like the most?
    The girls proably, although there can sometimes be drama. I had never lived with other people before but it was a great first experience. I also loved most of the staff.

    What did you like the least?

    At the end of my time there, they said some very insensitive things to me that triggered my relapse.

    Would you recommend this program?

    It depends. For the first month while I was really sick they were amazing. Then once I got weight restored and my medical complications got figured out they didn’t seem to care anymore. (if you want to know more about this contact me by commenting)

    What level of activity or exercise was allowed?
    Excersie A- You get to go on supervised walks for 15 minutes 2 times a week and do gentle streching once a week.
    Exercise B- Once you are medically cleared. You get to go to a group on monday and friday at 7:00 am. One group is cardio and the other is yoga.
    Exercise C- Not many people get to this level. But it is all the A and B groups plus one special group a week. When I was the only one on C I got to do whatever I wanted during the group with the exercise person. So usually, we just went for runs around the property.

    What did people do on weekends?

    Have visitors, Art therapy, sleep, 3-5 groups per day. If you are on level 3 or 4 you have an outing on saturday and you can also take passes.

    Do you get to know your weight?

    Most people are on blind weights but the nutritionist usually tells you once a week.

    How fast is the weight gain process?

    If you are on any weight gain plan you have a contract saying you gain 2 lbs a week. However some gain 3-5 lbs. a week.

    What was the average length of stay?

    Some people were in res for a week, some for 6 months. It totally depends on insurance.

    What was the average age range?

    14- 60.
    most people in their 20’s or 30’s though.

    How do visits/phone calls work?

    Visitors for adolescents are family members any day during visiting times. Level 1 patients can have visitors on weekends and level 2 and up can have any day during visiting times. Extended visiting hours for all on holidays. Phone calls are whenever you are not in groups. FDR and PDR have special phone times.

    Are you able to go out on passes?

    Level 3 or 4.

    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 who helps set up OP team.

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