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Eating Disorders - Treatment and Recovery

What to expect from treatment for Eating Disorders at Ontario Shores
EDU Kitchen

If you are reading this page it means you are taking another step towards treatment and recovery.

One of the most important aspects of residential treatment is developing goals that are specific to you and your recovery needs. During the pre-admission phase we will begin to explore your goals with you and your family/caregiver to get an understanding of how our program can support you.

It is common to think of your “big picture” goals and what recovery looks like down the road. We encourage you to think about the smaller steps to get you there – it may be helpful for you and your family/caregiver to break your goals down using a goal setting template. One that may be helpful is SMART-S goals:

S – Specific: What do you want to do? 
M – Measurable: How will you measure it or know you’re doing it? 
A – Achievable: Is this something you can start to work on?  
R – Realistic: Is this realistic?  
T – Time frame: When do you want to do this by? 
S – Support: Who will support you and what resources do you need?

Virtual Tour of the Unit


A typical day on EDU

Morning and Bedtime Routines

Morning routines – Teens are woken up by staff starting at 7:00am to begin their morning routine. This includes getting ready for the day, completing hygiene, taking medications (if applicable), and gathering your school items.

Bedtime routines – Teens begin their hygiene routines at 9:00pm. This includes getting ready for bed, completing hygiene, taking medications (if applicable), and engaging in independent, quiet leisure activities such as reading, journaling, or listening to music.

Meals and Snacks

There are 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 2 snacks (afternoon, evening) each day.

All teens are expected to be on time for meals and snacks.

Meal times are as follows:

  • Breakfast – 8:15am - 8:55am (40 minutes)
  • Lunch – 12:00pm - 12:40pm (40 minutes)
  • Afternoon snack – 2:30pm - 2:55pm (25 minutes)
  • Dinner – 5:30pm - 6:30pm (40 minutes)
  • Evening snack – 8:00pm-8:25pm (25 minutes)

Meals and snacks are supported by EDU team members trained in meal support therapy. There are times when meals or snacks may be difficult for you. We will work with you to identify positive coping strategies, to work through challenging thoughts, and engage you in a normalized meal time environment.

During your stay, with the help of our EDU staff it is expected that your parents/caregivers provide meal support therapy at least once a week. EDU staff will support parents/caregivers to further develop their skills in providing meal support to the adolescent. If required virtual technology can be used to support this.


There is a classroom located directly on the unit. This classroom is part of the Durham District School Board (DDSB) and is called “Grove School”. The DDSB Grove School program is supported by a DDSB teacher and Child and Youth Counsellor who works on the EDU. When teens come to EDU they have two options to continue their schooling:

  • Register with the DDSB Grove School program
  • Continue with their home school program through distance learning

The daily routine on EDU provides structure and prioritizes meal support therapy, individual, family and group therapy programs, therefore adolescents will only have access to school programming during designated Grove School times. 

If a teen and their family/caregiver choose to register with the DDSB, “Grove School” will appear on your transcript for any courses earned.

School is offered Monday through Friday year-round (including a summer session). There are two school sessions in the morning and one after lunch. There is homework time during the day to continue your studies outside of school time.


Group Programming

Group programming includes evidence-based therapy groups, life skills groups, and leisure and wellness groups. There are also recreation and community reintegration programs scheduled regularly. Group programming on the EDU changes from time to time to reflect the needs of the teens.

We will work with you and your family/caregivers to develop an individualized, structured treatment approach that includes intensive meal support and different therapy modalities. Your treatment plan will consider your unique needs and goals for recovery in line with our program guidelines.

Individual and Family Therapy

  • Adolescents and their family/caregiver are assigned a Family Therapist /Social Worker during treatment
  • Adolescents are expected to participate in weekly individual therapy with their Family Therapist.
  • Parents/caregivers and the adolescent are expected to participate in weekly family therapy with their Family Therapist.

All teens meet regularly with the Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, and Dietitian.

Using an interprofessional approach to support your goals, individual therapy may also include working with other members of the EDU team such as the Occupational Therapist, Behaviour Therapist, Recreation Therapist, Child and Youth Counsellors, and Nurses.

To guide treatment, we utilize principles of family-based therapy combined with:

  • Emotion-focused therapy
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

We also integrate a trauma-informed perspective into our milieu management.


Ontario Shores values the recovery process as being a personal and unique journey and upholds the values of compassion, inspiration, and hope. Throughout the hospital, we use the Interprofessional Recovery Model of Care to guide us in the care we provide. We will work with you and your family/caregivers to develop an individualized treatment approach that considers your unique needs and goals for recovery. This means that your treatment plan will likely look different from your peers’ treatment plans; despite the fact that you may have a similar diagnosis.

It is important to remember that recovery rarely happens in a straight line from point A to point B. Sometimes progress happens when we least expect it, and sometimes we have to look at our goals and adjust them along the way.

It is also important to remember that you and your/family caregiver are supported by the EDU team throughout your recovery journey and that caregivers are expected to play a part in your recovery process.

The amount of time you spend on the EDU depends on your recovery goals and your specific needs for treatment. Length of stay will vary for each person, however typical duration is three to six months.

We do not have a specific set of discharge criteria; we consider many factors when planning for treatment and your transition back to the community. In collaboration with the EDU team and your family we will determine readiness for discharge.

Self Help

Self-Help Resources

While you wait for service please review these self-help resources

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