How is outpatient and inpatient care for anorexia different?

Inpatient and outpatient care for anorexia nervosa are the same in that the goal is to replenish nutrition and facilitate weight gain. Patients with unstable vital signs, extremely low body mass index (BMI) or organ damage are selected for inpatient treatment due to the need for closer observation during treatment.
With outpatient care, the patient receives treatment through visits with members of their health care team. Often this means going to a doctor's office. Outpatients usually live at home.
Some patients may need "partial hospitalization". This means that the person goes to the hospital during the day for treatment, but sleeps at home at night.
Sometimes, the patient goes to a hospital and stays there for treatment. This is called inpatient care. After leaving the hospital, the patient continues to get help from her health care team and becomes an outpatient.
This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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