Eating Disorders Unit

The Eating Disorders Unit is a 12 bed unit for children and adolescents struggling with an eating disorder.  It provides an interprofessional model of care with a focus on recovery and rehabilitation.  There is a pre-admission process, post-discharge support and planning for transition home.

The unit includes individual patient bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and lounge area.  There are also group rooms and spaces for patient, family and group therapy. Parent and family involvement is a key component of the clinical programming. During their time at Ontario Shores, patients will also have access to teachers who can assist with their education needs. The average length of stay is 105 days.


  • Intensive individual therapy, group and family therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Meal support, nutrition and eating rehabilitation
  • Psychopharmacologic treatment
  • Schooling
  • Treatment for co-morbid disorders
  • Secondary School Education Program (Grove School)


  • The client must be between 12 years of age and 17 years of age and the referral must be submitted at least four months prior to their 18th birthday
  • All treatment options for eating disorders available in the client’s community have been unable to assist the adolescent achieve recovery
  • The Adolescent is unlikely to benefit to a less intensive treatment other than residential care.
  • Serious eating disorder symptoms continue after less intensive treatments in the community have been undertaken. i.e. day treatment and outpatients if available in the community.
  • Referring health care provider/agency is able to commit to provide appropriate follow-up after the teen has completed the Ontario Shores Eating Disorder program
  • Referring health care provider/agency will take responsibility to provide or arrange an acute care bed should a patient become medically unstable and require transfer.
  • The patient must be medically stable. This is decided by the medical staff both at the referring site and at OSC.  We do rely on standard criteria to guide the decisions around medical stability. 
    • Examples of criteria for medical instability:
      • <75% ideal body weight or ongoing weight loss despite intensive management
      • Heart rate < 50 beats per min daytime; <45 beats per min nighttime
      • Systolic pressure < 90 mm Hg
      • Orthostatic changes in pulse (>20 beats per min) or blood pressure (>10 mm Hg)
      • Hypothermia
      • Syncope
      • Hypokalemia
      • Hypoglycemia
      • Pregnancy
      • Esophageal tears
      • Cardiac arrhythmias including prolonged QTC
      • Hematemesis

These criteria are guidelines which may result in the patient requiring hospitalization before being accepted to the Ontario Shores Program, or may result in transfer to an acute care hospital should a patient arrive for admission at Ontario Shores in a medically unstable condition. These decisions are made on a clinical basis involving the referral source.

How to Access this Service

  • Referrals are accepted from healthcare professionals who are providing care in eating disorders programs throughout Ontario.
  • For more information about how to refer to this program, please see our Central Intake page.