Renfrew Center - Coconut Creek
My experience was similar to the previous reviews. I went to Renfrew FL in 2012 and it’s still hands down one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had.
It was my first inpatient program, so I had no idea what to expect. The issue I had with Renfrew wasn’t the treatment—of COURSE all treatment is really tough, that’s to be expected. Renfrew, however, was the opposite of helpful for me. It was so unindividualized that it made me feel unwanted and uncared for, which is the opposite of what you need in recovery. Not all, but a LOT of the staff was apathetic and some were downright cruel.
There was also very much a policy of guilty-until-proven-innocent—which frustrated me to no end. Any concerns I had were automatically invalidated and categorized as “the eating disorder speaking.” Um, excuse me? I am a human being. And while I understand that yes, some things are, for lack of a better term, “the eating disorder speaking," sometimes the concerns were valid and the staff had no interest in even trying to listen and discern the two.
After about a week there I decided I was going to do my best to comply because, as stubborn as I had been, I really did want to recover. I wanted to comply and work with the program. So I did. I finished all of my meals, went to all my groups, honestly put my all into it. Then it came time for rounds—sort of a bi-weekly review process they have where they meet in a group to discuss your progress and whether or not you should be put up a level. I expected to be leveled up to level 2 (not that there was MUCH of a difference…you didn’t get to really go to outings, etc until you hit level 3). They called me into the room and a panel of people were sitting there and they told me they were keeping me at level 1. I asked why—I had done everything right, I had complied, and I had really tried to do it all with a positive attitude. They told me it was because my weight, while it was increasing, was not increasing fast enough. In any case, it really hurt me that they refused to up me a level because of something I couldn’t control. I was eating all of my meals and supplements—it wasn’t my fault I wasn’t gaining fast enough.
I really disliked Renfrew. And I had chosen to go out of my own volition at the recommendation of my outpatient team. I wanted to make the best of it. I wanted to recover. Renfrew just made me feel alone, unwanted, and angry. They kicked me out after a month because my insurance wouldn’t pay. I was definitely not ready to be out of there, but that didn’t seem to matter (though I will say this is a problem with a lot of centers because of insurance, not necessarily the center).
A few other complaints: the food was not great for the most part, which is really horrible when you’re trying to “fall back in love” with food again. If you were on trays (level 1 and below would have their trays already set up when they entered the dining hall, while upper levels could go through the cafeteria serving thing and pick their food on the spot), the food was always cold. Sometimes that didn’t matter, but with hot dishes it made things difficult.
I did meet some pretty amazing people there (fellow residents, not staff). But there was also a lot of "drama." We had town hall meetings to discuss things that really seemed trivial. Oh, and someone stole my nail polish while we were there. Some other residents complained of having things stolen too. We think it was one of the girls there but were never able to prove it and we never got our stuff back.
I've seen the program work for some people, but I personally would not recommend Renfrew at all. I felt like a number there, not an individual. I didn’t feel like anyone really cared. If they cared at all, I felt it was about physical improvement. While weight gain is necessary for some individuals, it’s not an indicator of mental health. You could be fully weight-restored by the time you left but if you aren’t mentally progressing in your recovery then you could easily fall right back into the same patterns, which was the case with myself and countless others I knew in the program.
In summary: By all means, choose recovery, but choose to recover in a program that is right for you, where you feel like you have love and support.
The team was more concerned about insurance coverage and liability than my well being and recovery. I learned some good things there however the overall support was lacking.
I would only recommend this facility to a patient who has no other alternatives and needs inpatient care. They will make you gain weight, but beyond that, I can't say much for them. I was very disappointed with the treatment team. My insurance paid for only a fraction and it was ridiculously overpriced. They pushed medication a LOT. I don't know many people who did well after leaving inpatient, myself included.