I'm hoping those of you who've worked in schools
longer than I have might have experience with this or ideas to share.
I recently started working 2 days/week at a boarding school (high school). The full-time nurse has asked me for my input in establishing a protocol for students with eating disorders- how they need to be monitored/managed, when they are safe to be at school, at what point do they need to be removed from school, etc.
We currently have a student diagnosed with bulimia who was removed from the boarding environment for several weeks with the understanding that she would pursue more intensive treatment. She returned unexpectedly after spring break with no prior notice and I guess the problem is that because her family removed her from the boarding environment before they were told she was going to be removed, there was no specific criteria for her return/no expectations that had to be met before she could return.
The school does not have 24/7 nursing and it seems like it may not be possible for someone with an active eating disorder to be safe as a boarding student.
Do your schools have specific guidelines for dealing with students with eating disorders? I know that eating disorders are quite common in boarding schools. There is a doctor who is at the school 1 day/week but from what I can tell, this girl is being mismanaged by her outpatient provider as she only has a psychopharmacologist and the treatment approach I am familiar with for eating disorders involves medical, nutrition and psychological approaches to treatment. My inclination is that this girl needs better medical management outside of the school, that her teams needs to come up with a concrete plan (meals, coping strategies, etc) and that the plan needs to be communicated with the school so we can appropriately monitor her.
Thanks for any input.