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Clinics & services

Adolescent & child eating disorders

Adolescent & child eating disorders

We care for and treat young people with eating disorders to restore their physical health, improve psychological wellbeing, and optimise family and school functioning.

About us

The Adolescent & Child Eating Disorders (ACED) Inpatient Program is open to young people with eating disorders who needs medical care.

Eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses. Young people with eating disorders have extreme concerns about weight, shape, eating and/or body image. These concerns lead to disordered and unhealthy patterns of behaviour, including restricting food intake, fasting, counting calories, vomiting, laxative abuse, and overexercise. These behaviours greatly affect a person’s physical, psychological and social functioning.

Malnutrition from starvation can cause many complications. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to lifelong risks of infertility and osteoporosis.

Eating disorders affect males and females of all ages, of all socio-economic backgrounds, and of all shapes and sizes.

The aims of our program are:

  • To help restore or achieve a level of health that allows you to return to home and school safely
  • To educate you and your family about your illness
  • To link you and your family with psychological support

Parents of patients under 13 years old are welcome to spend the first night with their child to help them settle in.

Our services

We provide the following services:

  • Supportive nursing
  • Refeeding with meals and snacks, with meal replacement supplements and nasogastric feeding to support this when required
  • Creative therapies 
  • A ward-based school program
  • Input from mental health to learn anxiety management and coping tools 
  • Family education and support

Discharge planning

During the second week of the admission, the young person's family are expected to participate in a program called Staying Power. The family will eat together on the ward each meal/snack for at least 2 days. It is preferred that for the remaining inpatient stay that the family then continue to have family meals at times that suit the ward environment and the family. The family are encouraged to seek help from the nursing staff if any difficulties arise.

Prior to discharge, the dietitian will help create an individualised meal plan in discussion with the young person and their family. This meal plan will help to ensure that the young person stays physically and nutritionally safe at home pending community care. Outpatient follow-up appointments with mental health, medical and dietetic clinicians will be facilitated prior to discharge home.


For patients

You need a referral from your GP, specialist or health care provider to access this service.

For health professionals

Please return the Adolescent & Child Eating Disorders referral form forms to the Paediatric Eating Disorder Service for triage:

Fax: 03 9496 6909


For urgent referrals, call Switchboard on 03 9496 5000 and ask for the registrar to be paged on 5515.

Contact us

Adolescent & Child Eating Disorders Program

Jenny Spiller
Nurse Unit Manager

Phone: 03 9496 4062

Fax: 03 9496 6909


Paediatric liaison nurses

Karen Stewart and Brialie Forster

Phone: 03 9496 5943

Email: or 

Open hours: Monday to Friday 7.30am - 4pm


Professor Ingrid Scheffer
Director, Paediatrics


Ward 9 East
Level 9, Harold Stokes Building
145 Studley Road
Heidelberg VIC

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Postal address

Department of Paediatrics
Austin Hospital
PO Box 5555
Heidelberg VIC 3084