Short-term outcome of psychiatric inpatients with anorexia nervosa in the current care environment




The current study describes the short-term outcome of 61 inpatients with anorexia nervosa (AN), utilizing a standardized protocol that could be completed by most patients within the typical length of stay (LOS) in an academic medical center in our geographic area.


Patients were placed on disorder-specific and medication clinical pathways and completed questionnaires at admission and discharge. Diagnostic, historical, demographic, and treatment-related information was obtained.


Treatment was sufficient to resolve acute medical problems, initiate refeeding, and interrupt compensatory behaviors, but continued intensive treatment will be critical to full recovery. Patients were discharged at an average of 85% of ideal body weight (IBW). Twenty patients were discharged against medical advice (AMA). Clinical and demographic variables poorly predicted AMA status.


Attainable inpatient treatment goals in our care environment appear to be ≥80% IBW at discharge, resolution of acute medical problems, and interruption of compensatory behaviors. Future research should examine whether shorter LOS increases readmission rates or long-term costs. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.