Launched in May 2022 and funded through Ontario Health, the Windsor-Essex Intensive Outpatient Program (WEIOP) for Eating Disorders is a first-of-its-kind for this region. The program is in partnership with the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA), the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre – Teen Health (weCHC – Teen Health), and Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH).
Facilitated by a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency team, the WEIOP offers a variety of groups and individual sessions, along with supervised meal support. This program is for individuals aged 16 years and older with complex eating disorders and who have not successfully responded to less intensive programs; or for individuals “stepping down” from more intensive treatments. The WEIOP was developed to address the needs of individuals who require treatment for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorders.
This program is for individuals who are (1) Medically stable and do not need intensive, daily medical monitoring; (2) Able to actively participate in individual and group therapies; and (3) Expected to continue to make progress toward recovery.
“Life for youth dramatically changed daily during COVID and impacted their living environments and access to face to face intensive care,” says Nadine Manroe-Wakerell, Director of Clinical Practice at weCHC (Teen Health). “Left untreated, Eating Disorders can cause structural changes in the youth’s brain, heart disease, other serious illnesses, and can lead to death. Treating youth as soon as possible is the best course of action next to prevention for recovery.”
The WEIOP program will provide evidence-based, compassionate care, including group/individual therapeutic sessions, nutritional assessments and consultations, psychiatric evaluations, medical monitoring, psychoeducation, meal support, and coordinated management.
“What this means for Windsor-Essex residents is that not only will this program, coupled with existing services, help extend the continuum of care;” states Luciana Rosu-Sieza, BANA Executive Director, “it will greatly reduce the need for individuals to leave their families, their schooling, their jobs, and our community in search of intensive treatment.“
The dedicated multi-disciplinary team includes: a program coordinator, clinical intake worker, psychiatrist, registered nurse practitioners, registered social workers, and registered dietitians.
“This is a very important and exciting development for our region that will ensure quality and timely service for individuals in our region,” says Jonathan Foster, Vice President Emergency, Mental Health, Trauma, Office of Research, Cancer and Renal at WRH. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at BANA and weCHC in this collaborative program for years to come.”
The WEIOP will operate 4 days a week, with the primary goals that include normalizing eating, eliminating eating disorder behaviours, identifying influences that maintain eating disorders, and developing awareness and strategies to maintain recovery. Treatment is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), psychoeducation, and a nutrition group.
Interested individuals can access program information through a toll free, regional intake phone number, at (855) 969-5530 or via our webpage at www.wechc.org/counselling-general/weiop/.