Programme Rules & Expectations

Please read the following information about the Recovered Living New Zealand (RLNZ) programme carefully.  This document details our Programme Rules and outlines what you can expect of us, and what we expect of you.  At the end of this document, you will be asked to sign your name stating you have read, understood and agree to our programme rules and expectations.

Your time at RLNZ is uniquely tailored to you. We refer to each person who joins the Programme as a ‘client’, because you have hired us to help you recover from your eating disorder.  Rather than have you be a ‘patient’ of a medical ward, we wish to honour and draw attention to your motivation and choice to receive our services.

Our Programme Philosophy

 We have adopted the philosophy of Carolyn Costin, that every client has a ‘healthy self’ and an ‘eating disorder self’, understanding that full recovery is possible for all people living with an eating disorder. 

We acknowledge that there are several important aspects of recovery. Not only does your body require healing from the eating disorder but we will work with you to better understand and navigate your thoughts, beliefs, values, routines, and coping skills to help you make adjustments to support the life you want and deserve.  

In the early stages of recovery your eating disorder self will likely be very loud, and you may feel at the mercy of the things it says to you or tells you to do. Because of this, your initial care will be quite structured to help isolate and address your eating disorder.

Part of the RLNZ philosophy is that relationships with others are part of the healing process.  As such, our programme is designed so that clients and staff do most things together.  Staff will eat the same food as you, they will attend groups, and go on outings.  There will also be downtime in our programme each afternoon where you can choose to spend it alone, or with your peers.  We expect all clients at RLNZ to participate in our programme.  Sometimes participating might mean just showing up and staying in the room.  We are ok with that as in order to recover, you must show up.  It is the first step to making change.

Definition of Recovered

The eating disorder field does not currently have a universally agreed upon definition for recovery.  We align with Carolyn Costin’s definition in her book; 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder.

“Being recovered is when a person can accept their natural body size and shape and no longer has a self-destructive or unnatural relationship with food or exercise. 

When you are recovered, food and weight take a proper perspective in your life and what you weigh is not more important than who you are.  In fact, actual numbers are of little or no importance at all.

When recovered, you will not compromise your health or betray your soul to look a certain way, wear a certain size or reach a certain number on a scale."


Goals of our Programme

Our aim is to prepare you for life outside of treatment by having you leave with a high level of motivation for your own recovery, a clear plan for what you need to do in order to recover, tools so that you can action your plan and increasingly self-initiated recovery focussed challenges.

Our number one priority is helping you achieve your personal recovery goals.  We also recognize that it is difficult to make clear decisions when the disordered mind is strong.  Our goals therefore, are to help you work through our Level System (outlined below) which is a step by step ‘blueprint’ for your recovery.  

If you have spent sufficient time in our programme, you should have a good understanding of what you need to do in order to reach full recovery. The process of gaining insight and creating change in your life can take a long time. We believe when one is fully committed to doing whatever it takes, as long as it takes, eating and exercise disorders can be a thing of the past for each individual. 

Benefits & Risks of Our Programme 

Benefits of our Programme:

  • Being part of a focused recovery community who are here to support you in moving closer to your recovery goals
  • An experience of abstinence from behaviours
  • Access to specialised clinicians
  • Learning skills and tools to detangle yourself from your eating disorder
  • Discovering how to reach out to healthy relationships rather than your eating disorder
  • Work through psychological issues, values and beliefs that drive your eating disorder 
  • Make connections with people who understand you
  • Becoming a peer support as you progress in recovery, mentoring others who admit to RLNZ after you - showing them the ropes and talking them through the early stages of being in treatment
  • A recovered life

Risks of our Programme:

  • Feelings of discomfort, anxiety or fear
  • You get out of the programme only what you put into it
  • You may hear information that feels challenging
  • You may be in programme with clients you don’t get on with or have conflict with
  • You may feel triggered by other clients or be exposed to eating disorder behaviours or thoughts you may not have encountered before

While the treatment you receive is evidence-based and implemented with leadership from individuals who have recovered from eating disorders, we cannot guarantee recovery with this Programme. Your motivation to recover is consistently recognised as the main predictor of recovery. Nonetheless, residential treatment gives you a solid foundation for the next stage of treatment, Day Programme or an Outpatient team.

Our Waitlist Conditions

Please be aware that as we invest time into your admission process, we are having to place other individuals on a waitlist behind you.  

In the past, we have found that some people would sign up for our programme and then change their mind at the last minute.  This would mean higher anxiety for the next client as their admission would be rushed, they incur higher travel costs, and we have less time to prepare for them.

To help ensure people are clear in their commitment before placing them on the waitlist, we have found it necessary to require a non-refundable* security deposit totalling 3 days of Residential treatment.

*If a place is not offered to you within 90 days of signing this agreement, you may either request your full deposit back and be removed from the waitlist, or choose to remain on the waitlist for an additional 90 days in which case the same agreement remains.

What to Expect

On your admission day, we will ask you to arrive at the Recovered Living NZ home at 1pm.

At first, we will focus on helping you settle in.  Feel free to ask any questions! We know that the process of coming into treatment is a big change and it can take some time to adjust.

When you first come into our programme your only job will be to do your best to embrace life in treatment. It is likely going to be quite a challenge as you are in a new environment, with new people, and a new routine.

Initial introductions

In the first few days of being in programme, the following people will meet with you (not necessarily in this order).

One of our Nurses will go through any medications you are currently on and discuss any concerns you have relating to your physical health in recovering from an eating disorder.

Our Medical Doctor will meet with you to go over the results of your medical assessment, and to complete an admission assessment.  

The Registered Dietitian will talk with you about your meal plan, get to know your goals and fears, and answer any questions you have. 

Our Psychiatrist will connect to discuss any medications or additional diagnoses, and to understand your goals for your time with us.

Our Clinical Director will spend time with you to get to know who you are so that they can best support your recovery journey with us.

Within 3 - 4 days we will place you with a Therapist.  We wait a few days to get to know you and place you with someone who will be the best fit.  In the meantime, please ask for support from any of our team – we are very willing to process anything that has come up for you.

There may be times in the first week where we will create initial individual sessions to meet with our doctor, psychiatrist or dietitian while regular groups are happening.  Having the foundations set up for you is our number one priority.

Your First 48 hours

In the first 48 hours you will either be on ‘Transition’ or a ‘Modified’ meal plan. 


On a ‘transition’ meal plan, you will be asked to complete at least 50% of your portioned meals and 100% of snacks.  We encourage you to put in your best effort and ask you to work your way up to 100% completion within 48 hours.  Once your Transition period has ended, you will be provided with an individualized meal plan, and asked to complete 100% of the meals and snacks on this plan.


On a ‘modified’ meal plan, you will be asked to complete 100% of a modified meal plan, designed to reduce or prevent symptoms of refeeding syndrome.  This meal plan will be adjusted by the dietitian as you progress in recovery.

The level system

RLNZ has created a level system spanning levels 1 through 8, that is specifically designed to give you more ownership over your recovery as you progress.  All clients enter on level 1 and work through the levels at their own pace.  Our Programme levels correspond with the intensity of support you receive.  

Residential: Levels 1 through 4

24/7 support 

Day Programme: Levels 5 & 6 

12 and then 8 hours of support seven days a week 

Partial Programme: Level 7

4 hours of support (maximum of 7 & minimum of 3 days per week)

Virtual Outpatient: Level 8

2 hours, twice a week

Every client starts at Level 1 but not every client leaves at Level 8.  You will work through the levels at your own pace. Each level has specific privileges and challenges along with assignments, activities and requirements in order to move to the next level. Working through the level system is a progressive process where you can expect to work through each level, rather than skipping levels (there are no shortcuts in recovery!). People may leave early because of personal circumstances, finances, or location difficulties but that does not mean they cannot recover.  Of course, we always recommend you give yourself the best foundation for recovery as possible by staying as long as you can.

Transitioning to the Next Level

You may request to move to the next level during the weekly Intentions group.  In order to move up a level you must have completed the assignments, fulfilled any activity requirements and have mastery over the goals on your current level.

The entire clinical team will review your request and progress to date during the weekly staff meeting, also taking into consideration factors such as motivation, initiative, surrender, and progression with food and movement.  The decision will be announced at Blueprint group, held directly after the weekly staff meeting.

Half levels

If most but not all criteria are met for one level but you have made significant improvement in that level, adjustments can be made to structure your level to continue to assist in your recovery. For instance, if you have made significant progress in level 2 but do not meet all the criteria for Level 3, Level 2.5 may be awarded to include specific assignments, privileges and challenges of Level 3. This acknowledges areas of your recovery that are strong and which have capacity for greater independence, while allowing for clear structure and support in areas that require more practice and routine.

Discharge level

Discharge Level is for clients who discharge before Level 4 in residential so that they can practice the skills necessary for re-entering the world. On Discharge Level you will be given privileges not usually associated with your current level such as grocery shopping and preparing or portioning your food.

Down levelling

At times when a client moves up a level, unforeseen challenges or eating disorder behaviours may emerge that make it too difficult to manage the responsibilities of that level and stay in recovery.  If this is the case, you may be down levelled for a period of time so that increased support can help you establish a solid foundation and prepare for the challenges of more independence on higher levels.  Down levelling is never used with any intent to punish but is viewed as quality information - that we have some individual tweaks to make to your recovery path as you progress.  If you are Down levelled for any reason, we will work with you to identify what it was about increased independence that felt overwhelming, and work on an individualised plan to help you navigate these particular challenges.


Higher Levels of Care - Medical

The Recovered Living NZ programme is NOT a medical facility and all clients are required to be medically stable on admission.  To gauge your medical stability, we require you to complete blood tests and a doctor's evaluation within 2 weeks of your admission date.  We repeat these blood tests and evaluations on your admission day to ensure we are remaining within our scope of practice.  If you enter our residential programme and are found to be medically unstable on admission, we will discharge you and transfer you to a hospital. 

If while you are with us, you become medically unstable due to re-feeding syndrome or if we have concern for your physical safety, we may discharge to seek a higher level of care (i.e. hospitalization).  Once you are medically stable and able to tolerate a residential meal plan, you are welcome to readmit and return to RLNZ.  If we are developing concerns about your safety, we will always talk about this with you as part of our decision making process.

Higher Levels of Care - Psychiatric

If we become concerned that you may be at risk of harming yourself or others, the psychiatrist, director, or designated staff member will conduct an assessment of your ability to keep yourself and others safe.  They will also discuss alternative treatment options if you are unable to commit to safety.  Based on your stability we will either ask you to agree to safety measures with RLNZ staff or will transfer you to a facility where you will be safe, for example the emergency room or a psychiatric facility.

Discharge Planning

An important part of success is a thoughtful and effective plan.  Completing a Residential programme does not mean you are ready to go directly back into the world full steam. The best predictors of a successful recovery are stepping back into life gradually as you are ready, staying connected with your team and reaching out for support.  Part of discharge planning will be relapse prevention, creating your support network and making plans for the next level of step down.

Once part of RLNZ, you are a part of our whānau. Saturday whānau/family group is a chance for family members and friends to engage in group therapy and education, as well as for Alumni of RLNZ to return and speak about their own recovery processes.

All RLNZ programmes are voluntary.  If the treatment team believes you wish to leave at a time that may cause harm to yourself (distinct from imminent harm), we may mark your discharge as ‘against clinical advice’ (ACA).  Please note a minor cannot discharge from an RLNZ programme without the authorization of the legally responsible party.

As RLNZ is a residential programme we treat you being in our home like you are a tenant of a flat.  If you wish to leave our programme prior to the date estimated by the financially responsible party, we require 14 days written notice.  Should you leave our programme without giving two weeks written notice, you will forfeit your security deposit (3 days of residential treatment fees).

We have this policy in place for two reasons:

  1. Two week’s notice of discharge gives both RLNZ and you the time needed to appropriately prepare you for a life outside of a residential setting as well as setting up external supports for your recovery.
  2. Two week’s notice allows the client admitting after you to prepare for entering our programme, arrange travel and complete any required medical tests.

On your discharge date, you are welcome to stay through until evening snack (9:30pm), if you choose.  

Discharge Support

As part of discharge planning and support Recovered Living NZ offers the following 14 day service which is included as part of the programme fees.*

For the first 3 days after discharging from our programme we will schedule a daily half hour zoom appointment with you, one of the Recovered Living NZ staff and any whānau/family members you nominate to attend.  These calls are an opportunity to process any difficulties or questions that inevitably come up as a part of returning home.  Leaving treatment can be a difficult transition for some and so, the calls are also an opportunity to reconnect with the culture and philosophy of Recovered Living NZ that we hope have become a foundational part of your motivation for change.  

For the next 11 days we will schedule a half hour zoom session every second day.  It is expected in this two week period that you will begin to engage with your outpatient supports.  Where possible we will try to make the calls at times that are convenient to you however the constraints of our Residential and Day programme mean that we may not be able to fit your desired schedule. If you are unable to meet at the times we have available, we are regretfully unable to make up any missed sessions. 

*This service is only offered if a client discharges our programme having given 2 weeks written notice.  If a client chooses to leave our programme without giving the appropriate amount of notice, they forfeit their right to our discharge support service.


We welcome feedback about our programme.  A copy of this agreement is kept in a ‘client agreement folder’ in the RLNZ home and is accessible to you at all times.  At the back of the folder are feedback forms you are welcome to fill out and give to us to help us know what we are doing well, what we could improve on and any parts of our programme we could consider changing.

At the conclusion of your time with RLNZ, we will ask you to complete a structured feedback form asking for your experience on specific components of our programme. 

Group therapy

Group therapy is a significant component of treatment.  The power of group therapy is to receive multiple perspectives, relate to others, and to witness differing stages of the recovery process – stages you will have either been through or will be soon approaching.  Groups are run by our Therapists, Dietitian, Director, or staff members with specific expertise.  In some cases, we invite special guests or speakers who specialize in eating disorders or body image issues.

Below is a summary of the groups we offer within the Recovered Living programme.

o   Tuatahi Group

Run by the Clinical Director, this group is scheduled four times a week.  Tuatahi group does not have a specific format, rather it is a space to explore a wide range of topics or issues.  Whatever you bring to the group is welcome, there is enough time for everyone to have space to share and process. 

o   Intentions Group

This group will facilitate the shaping of your recovery intentions during your time in treatment. Here, you can develop individual goals, set yourself challenges and request being moved to the next level when you feel you are ready for more independence. Your recovery goals, achievements and requests are written on your ‘blueprint’ and given to the team to review each week.

o   Blueprint Group

We deliberately used the name ‘blueprint’ as it is in this group that you carve the blueprint for your recovery.  Your progress is important and every step with us is considered carefully.  Our team meets every Wednesday to review each client, their progress, challenges and their next steps.  The team will review your blueprint and any specific requests.  They will also provide specific challenges or feedback to help you progress through the programme and into a more solid phase of recovery.

o   Yoga 

At RLNZ we utilize the experience of restorative yoga to help you slow down and practice the forgotten skill of rest. Restorative yoga will introduce you to the concept of deep intentional rest, being present and in the calm state experienced before sleep. This practice can support your skills intentionally resting your body, and your mind.  As you progress in recovery, your experience of being in your body and allowing your mind to rest will also shift.

o   Meditation

Meditation consists of focusing the mind (concentration), being present (mindfulness) and reflecting on thoughts and feelings (contemplation).  Practicing meditation will help build new connections in your brain as you recognise sensations, thoughts and emotions outside of your eating disorder.  Focussed meditation is a key component in lowering the volume of your eating disorder so that your healthy self has a chance to be heard.

o   Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

A key element to eating disorder recovery is exposing yourself to situations that feel anxiety provoking, then processing the anxiety so the event is no longer triggering.  This will change your response from one of protection or safety (your eating disorder) to a healthy response.  ERP is a weekly group that allows you to choose individualized challenges out of the normal scope of the programme, to further your recovery.

o   Koha Kai

Koha kai is an opportunity for clients on Level 3 or above to gift their peers and the house with a meal of their choice.  Clients will plan, shop, prepare, and cook the meal for the rest of the house under the supervision of the dietitian.  Preparing food for others may also provide the opportunity to recognise any concerns you have surrounding your food choices and creates space for you to strengthen your connection to food as a form of kindness towards ourselves and others. 

o   Kitchen Skills (Level 2 and above)

Kitchen Skills group is a chance to learn your way around the kitchen as you help the Chef with a variety of tasks including unpacking, shopping, peeling, cutting, preparing meals and storing food.  This is an informal group and a time to get to know your peers and the RLNZ staff better as you engage with food in a new way.

o   Master Chef (optional Level 3 and above)

Optional Master Chef group is a chance for clients who enjoy being in the kitchen to share their culinary skills.  Should you wish to add to the snack menu, you are welcome to bake.  The only rule we have is that if you bake it, you also need to partake in eating it.

o   Nutrition group/Skills Lab

Nutrition group allows an open forum to explore the food rules or beliefs you hold and process them with a registered dietitian.  You are invited to  ask questions and retrain your mind to connect to a relationship between your body and food that you were born to have. Skills Lab is a chance to practice being in the kitchen in a simulated environment in order to practice recovery skills in the kitchen, with the dietitian present.

o  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been proven to have positive effects in recovery from an eating disorder.  It is a goal oriented therapy that takes a practical approach.  CBT primarily identifies thought patterns and increases your understanding and awareness of how they play out in your life and most importantly, how to change them.

o   Body image

This is an opportunity to explore the origins of your body image, the complex layers that feed into it and what actually makes up the physical image you hold of your body.  In this group you will explore maintaining behaviours, body image concerns, and ways of thinking that interfere with your day-to-day life. You will acquire tools and techniques to help retrain your brain to relate to your body in a compassionate way and put body thoughts into the broader context of things you value.

o   Movement Groups

This group was created specifically to help you explore different movement options that speak to the things you value.  Exploring physical activity with a focus on enjoyment rather than calorie burning or shape shifting will allow you to connect with your healthy self and make peace with movement as a soulful activity that lifts you up rather than serves as a distraction, coping mechanism or punishment.  Outdoor movement is weather dependent and may be rescheduled or cancelled if the weather is adverse.

o   Open group

The topic of this group is chosen by the facilitator and could be a guest speaker, an introspective assignment, group activity, outing, or Ted talk.  This is an opportunity for staff to bring an extended version of their own flair to your journey, sharing philosophies, values and soulful moments that shape who they are.

o   Whānau & friends group

Open to all whānau members, friends and past clients of RLNZ, this weekly group speaks to the relationship component of your eating disorder, but more importantly, your recovery.  Allowing your loved ones into your treatment journey gives space for processing past hurts, more productive communication and learning new ways to support each other.

o   Service 

Connecting with the world, focusing your attention on lifting others up and exploring what makes your heart sing is all part of the service group.  RLNZ was supported by the local community to start up, in return we go out into the community to see where we can give back.  Service groups are about recognising your connection to others, helping, and developing interests outside of your recovery.

o   Meal Debriefs

In recovery you are going to have a lot of feelings about food.  Meal debriefs are designed just for this reason.  Run twice a week by either our registered dietitian or therapist, you will have an open forum to voice and process the feelings that arise directly after meals.  Please know staff will be on hand after every meal and snack for this purpose, meal debriefs offer a group environment to explore your emotions and behaviours directly linked to food.

o   Media Group

In this group you develop a new and positive relationship with technology. There is an endless amount of content that can both help and hinder your progress in the outside world.  Developing connections with supportive technology platforms and removing harming ones can be rocketfuel for your recovery.

o   BeGathered / Soul Circle

Who fills your soul?  This is an opportunity to invite your ‘inner circle’ people to a custom designed group to connect with you on a deeper level.  Soul Circle group is part of what makes up your ‘why’ for recovering.  We explore what you are recovering towards, what has kept you going and what makes your soul sing in relationships.

o   Art Therapy

A creative way to express and reflect on your journey.

o   Graduation

When you discharge from our programme, we have a graduation ceremony for you to honour and reflect on your experience with RLNZ, the progress you have made, and your commitment to your future.  Graduation is a connective time, where the entire house gathers to witness your transition.


Group Therapy Guidelines

  • We invite you to use the opportunity of group to:
    • Support one another
    • Encourage one another
    • Hold space for others
    • Ask for clarification from others 
  • Own your opinion, use ‘I statements’.  In any group there will be diversity, rather than ‘we all feel the same way’, please use, ‘I feel that…’.  Instead of ‘don’t you think you should…’ try, ‘I think that…’
  • If someone is speaking please allow them the space to find their thoughts and speak.
  • Stay in the room, especially when it gets hard.  Together with your peers, you are all in recovery together.  Support each other by staying together to work through tough situations.
  • Use specifics but don’t use numbers.  If you are talking about restricting, binging, purging, exercising or self harm...we encourage you to call a spade a spade and say it out loud.  We do ask however that you don’t use numbers.  Instead of saying ‘I used to eat X calories a day’, please use ‘I used to restrict.’  Instead of ‘I want the number on the scale to say X’, try instead, ‘I want the number to be lower/higher.’ 
  • It is expected that you use the bathroom before group.
  • Be on time.  You get out of programme what you put into it.
  • Participate to the best of your ability.
  • Please keep people’s personal information confidential.  It is ok to share what you learned from a group but please do so in a way that does not identify any particular member of the group.
  • Respect diversity.  There will be people of different ages, cultures, backgrounds and experiences in group.  We may not always agree and that is part of being human.

Special living considerations with the RLNZ facilities 

A rammed earth building

The house is made of earth using a rammed earth technique to construct the walls, which are then covered by a plaster layer.  Rammed earth walls are formed from locally-sourced natural materials, namely soil that is just damp enough to hold together. This material is therefore hypoallergenic and supports a low carbon footprint. The plaster layer is for cosmetic purposes only and so is quite thin.  Cracks may appear in the plaster from time to time, especially around door frames but this wear does not pose a risk to you. This happens as a result of the reverberation of the door when it is repeatedly closed.  Ongoing attention and upkeep to the walls is a common aspect of rammed earth home management.

Septic tank 

We have a septic tank so please do not put tampons, paper towels or anything other than number 1's, 2's and toilet paper down the toilets.


To optimise ventilation in the bathrooms, please leave the bathroom doors open after using the shower.


Please keep both internal and external doors closed when the fire or heat pumps are on to create maximum warmth in the house.


Light bulb not working?  Handle loose on your bedside table?  Please let staff know if there are any issues and we will ensure they get attended to.

Programme Policies and Guidelines

Common Courtesies

We appreciate that a group of people living in one house can come with unique challenges.  In recognition of this we ask that you:

  • Keep common areas tidy by placing your personal belongings for the day in your storage basket.
  • Ensure the area between your door and bed is kept clear in case of fire or emergency.
  • Be mindful of keeping your bedroom and bathroom neat for your roommate.
  • Let us know if you are feeling unwell so that we can help stop the spread of common colds or other infectious illnesses.


If you have questions, concerns, or problems, please come to the Clinical Director and they will direct you to the most appropriate staff member to connect with.  Please know that our staff are all on the same team and as such, an answer from one staff member will be the same answer from another.


Staff-Client Relationships

Our policy at RLNZ is that staff must maintain a professional relationship with clients (including alumni) and their families or friends both within the RLNZ premises and offsite. The exchanging of personal contact information, friending on facebook, gifts over $30 in value, or meeting up outside of programme is prohibited.  It is important you are aware of this so that you do not feel offended when a staff member does not accept a social request.  As an alumni, you are welcome to the RLNZ house during visiting hours if you wish to visit with a particular staff member. Staff members are also not allowed to borrow items from clients or purchase items for you. 

The exceptions to this policy are: 

  • If a period of 5 years or more has passed since the client became an alumni, or whānau member or friend became known to the staff member.  After this point both staff and alumni or whānau members/friends are free to pursue socialization.
  • If follow up support is sought in a professional capacity (or voluntary under a professional organization for example AA) that the staff member works or volunteers with.
  • If you happen to be part of a common social or professional group with a staff member.

Client Relationships

We encourage you to develop friendships with your peers at the RLNZ programme.  Intimate relationships between peers is not permissible while in programme as it interferes with the dynamics of the house and can be a distraction to your recovery.

Please respect other clients personal space and ask permission before touching them i.e. ‘may I give you a hug’ or ‘can I braid your hair’.

Whānau/hapū/iwi and significant others

We strongly believe that relationships are a significant part of your recovery.  Every Saturday we have a whānau and friends group that is open to those people in your life.  We also offer individual whānau therapy sessions to help gain understanding, healing and skills to help you and your whānau/friends in your recovery. 


You are welcome and encouraged to have visitors, including both whānau and friends.  At RLNZ our residential treatment programme is a full day.  The best time for visitors is typically:

  • Saturdays between 1:30pm and 6:00pm
  • Sundays between 11:00am and 1:00pm
  • Weekdays between 3:30pm and 6:00pm

Please check the programme schedule for exact times as each day varies slightly.  Visitors arriving during groups, meals or therapy sessions will be asked to wait until you are available to see them.

All visitors will be asked to check in at the office and sign a confidentiality agreement. Please ask your visitors not to bring food or beverages into the facility, including take-away coffee.  If they are unwell, please ask them to stay away out of respect for health and safety.  Any visitors suspected of being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol will be asked to leave or the appropriate authorities will be contacted.  Visitors must not infringe on the rights of other clients. Any parcels or items brought to you by visitors must first be cleared with staff.


In order to look after your safety, we are required to know your whereabouts while in programme with us at all times.  We require you to stay within the common indoor and outdoor areas that are within eyesight of the lounge room unless accompanied by a staff member.  Accordingly, we ask that you do not leave the RLNZ grounds without an approved pass (see ‘Passes’).  If you do choose to leave the RLNZ home or property without letting us know, our policy is to contact emergency services as we would be concerned for your safety.

Dress Code

Please do wear

  • Casual and comfortable clothing during regular programming hours.
  • Shoes during outings away from the RLNZ home.
  • Clothes you enjoy!

Please do not wear 

  • Clothing that may be considered offensive in its slogans or logos
  • Pyjamas between the hours of 7:30am and 9pm
  • Other client’s clothes, or share clothes, makeup or jewellery with clients (this is for hygiene reasons and to avoid disputes)

Clients who do not abide by the dress code will be required to change into more appropriate clothes. 

Personal Displays

In your room there will be space for photographs, quotes or pictures you would like to hang, to personalize your space.  Please do not hang any pictures or content that could be considered offensive.  We will request any offensive content be taken down for the duration of your time with us.



At RLNZ you may be asked to room with 1 – 2 other clients.  During the phone assessment we would have asked you if you had preferences about roommates, we will take these preferences into consideration when selecting a roommate for you.   ‘Roomies’ tend to form fast bonds and many people say that having a roommate was a fundamental part of their recovery journey.

Code of conduct for roommates

Personal belongings - you will have your own bedroom furniture, space for your clothes/personal items and an individual safe for money and other valuables.  We ask every client to respect each other’s personal belongings by not touching or borrowing items.

Respecting quiet spaces – if you are listening to music, please use headphones unless your roommate has agreed to listen also.

Prioritise sleep - days are busy at RLNZ and you will be working hard in recovery.  We ask that your prioritise sleep between the hours of 10:30pm and 6:30am.

Address little things before they become big things – if you have an issue with a roommate's behaviour, we encourage you to address it with them directly as soon as possible.  If you need support doing this either in how to address it or support talking with your roommate, please let us know and we are happy to help.


Mail will be distributed as it arrives.  The mailing address for RLNZ is as follows:

Recovered Living NZ

PO Box 120

Sefton 7445

Please place any outgoing mail (stamped and addressed) in the ‘outgoing mail’ box located outside the staff room.

Telephone Use

A client landline is provided so you can keep in touch with your loved ones.  The number is a client only line that you may give to your whānau and friends.  If your whānau or friends call during group or meal times, they will be directed to an answering machine which is accessed and monitored by clients.  Any messages are to be written on the whiteboard for other clients.  Domestic calls are free however for international phone calls you will be required to use a calling card which can be purchased online.  Calls can be made or received between programmed groups or meals and snacks.  We ask you to keep calls to 20 minutes at a time to allow fair use for everyone.

Computers, Cell Phones, Electronics and Internet

We acknowledge that electronic devices are a way of being in today's society.  We also know that they can be detrimental to your progress in the early stages of recovery.  We have found that for some, electronics can serve as a distraction from recovery or encourage clients to isolate.

Any laptops, cell phones or electronic devices (with the exception of kindles and I-pods) will be collected and safely stored upon admission.  Kindles and music devices will be checked by staff to ensure the content is appropriate.  As you reach higher levels in the RLNZ programme, you may request access to your stored electronics outside of programmed hours.  We have specific times each day for you to connect with your phones to keep in touch via text or on facebook etc. with the outside world.  This is typically in the afternoon or after dinner.

A communal computer with internet access is provided for your use to keep in touch with whānau and friends via email.  Keep usage to no more than 20 minutes at a time to allow others to use the computer.  The browser history is checked on a regular basis to ensure no food, weight, or body related content is being accessed.  From time to time we may also ask to check the browser history on your personal devices to ensure your recovery is protected.

Please follow these guidelines when using the computer:

  • Online purchases must first be requested during the intentions group and approved by staff.
  • Do not look up inappropriate content such as calories, pro-eating disorder sites, weight loss, slimming, exercise, or other content deemed harmful to your own or others recovery.
  • Please do not delete the browser history.  If this has been done, it will be assumed inappropriate content has been accessed and use of the computer may be withdrawn for a period of time.
  • Illegal downloads, accessing pornography, or gambling sites while using the RLNZ network are not permitted.
  • Changing settings on the RLNZ computer is not permitted.
  • If you are using your personal device to connect to the internet, it is expected you will adhere to the above guidelines.


As you are living in a shared environment, laundry is required to be a little more structured than if you were living at home.  You will be assigned a weekly ‘laundry day’ for you to wash your clothes, towels and sheets.  Personal laundry hampers are provided in your room for your dirty clothes.  Bedwetting, periods and night sweats happen.  If you require new sheets or towels before the weekly changeover, just let us know.


You will be provided with a small personal safe in your room.  We recommend you keep items such as your wallet inside.  We do not take responsibility for the loss or damage of any valuables you bring to RLNZ.

Evening Policy

To help assist with developing appropriate waking and sleeping routines, we ask that you are in your room between the hours of 10:30pm and 7am, with lights out by 11pm.  Rest assured the external doors to the house are locked at night for your safety and night staff are on duty.  The bedroom doors and windows have sensors that send a message to our night staff if they are opened during the night.  This helps us to keep you safe as we know where everyone is during the night.


Our meal and snack menus model food we would expect you to typically encounter in life.  While we try our best, regular items may not be consistently available and will be replaced with the closest equivalent option.  It is impossible to accommodate everyone's specific preferences and cultural backgrounds all of the time however, as you progress through the levels, you may work with the dietitian to identify some preferred off menu items that we can purchase and incorporate into your recovery.

Breakfasts and snacks are mostly chosen from a set menu which are required to be turned in the night before. If you do not complete or turn in your menu, staff will complete it for you in accordance with your meal plan and the choices available.  As you progress up the levels, you may move to ‘pick at the time’ which means you can choose in the moment what you would like for breakfast and snacks.

Your meal menu is to be completed in advance a week at a time (after blueprint group) and will be reviewed with your dietitian in the next individual session.  Changes to individual menus can only be signed off by the dietitian.

Supported meals and snacks

In the early stages of your stay with us, all meals and snacks will be attended and supported by staff members.  We ask that you remain seated at the table for the meal duration, regardless of whether you have completed the meal.

If you are struggling to complete the food, staff members are available to help talk you through it.  After a reasonable amount of time, if you are still having difficulty you will be given a supplement to finish the food not completed.  


If you feel unable to complete your meal or snack, you will be given a supplement (typically Ensure) to finish your required intake. The amounts of supplement given are calculated as percentages of the caloric requirements for the meal or snack in question:

This example protocol below is for the base meal plan:

  • Less than 25% of meal completed, 2 bottles
  • 26%-50% of meal completed, 1.5 bottles
  • 51%-75% of meal completed, 1 bottle
  • 76%-99% of meal completed, ½ bottle

For base meal plan snacks the supplementation protocol is:

  • Less than 50% completed, 1 bottle
  • 51% to 99% completed, ½ bottle

Supplements are to be completed at the table, before the end of the mealtime.  For supplements given in the final 5 minutes of a meal, an additional 5 minutes will be granted.

We understand that while at RLNZ you may be eating and keeping food for the first time in many years.  We understand if you choose to supplement, it is a valid part of the recovery process.

Table guidelines

It is expected that you will be on time.  A gong will sound at the beginning of each meal or snack to call everyone to the table.  If you are late to the table you will not be given additional time.  The meal will finish on time or sooner, if everyone completes.

While at the table we ask you to refrain from topics that frame food negatively.  For example, if you dislike or have negative beliefs about certain foods, this is not the time to process that.  We also ask you not to talk about exercise or body image concerns while at the table.  Instead, please focus on more neutral topics.

Certain eating disorder behaviours such as cutting food into small pieces, eating with utensils when the food is finger food or vice versa, separating food items or excessive use of condiments is asked to be abstained from.  If you have any of these behaviours they will be on your blueprint to work on.  Continued use of behaviours at the table will prevent you from moving up the levels.

You are given 20 minutes to complete snacks, 30 minutes for breakfast and 35 minutes for lunch and dinner. 

Staff will check everyone's dishes before dismissing you from the table.

Clients with kitchen duties may take their dishes to the kitchen.  If you do not have kitchen duties, whomever is on dish duty will take your plates.

Part of your recovery will be normalizing your fluid intake.  You are allowed two beverages per meal or snack, either two cold (water) or one hot (decaffeinated tea) and one cold.


On the early levels of treatment we protect your body from additional stressors by providing you with decaf coffee.  Once you move up the levels and your body has stabilized, you may bring caffeine into your daily routine as part of breakfast, with permission from the dietitian.


Like any normal eater, there are foods people do not like.  In acknowledgment of this you are allowed three exceptions on your meal plan.  In the beginning you may choose foods you are fearful of in addition to foods you don’t like.  Your exceptions may not be food groups and must be specific foods for example, tuna and olives (dislikes) and pasta (fear food).  Once indicated, you will not be able to change or add to your exceptions.  During your time with us you will have the chance to explore the origins of your exceptions and make choices from preference rather than fear.  In order to move to Level 3, any fear-based exceptions are required to be removed in order to progress in your recovery.


If you choose not to finish the food or supplement, it will be noted as a refusal.   As admission into RLNZ is voluntary, there is an expectation that you will complete 100% of your meal plan via food, supplement or a combination of both.  If you have more than three refusals during your time with us then the director, therapist, and your dietitian will have a conversation to discuss whether you are ready to be in this programme.

We have this rule in place to protect you and other clients, in our programme. 

Protecting you

You are coming into residential treatment because a part of you wants to recover.  We cannot forcibly take your eating disorder away but we can help you strengthen your healthy self  - the part of you that wants to be free.  To help your healthy self gain traction we set clear boundaries for your recovery, otherwise the eating disorder has no limits.  We will not allow restriction to continue while you are in our programme as that will feed the eating disorder.  

Understandably, this rule may feel overwhelming for you.  The 'Transition Period' outlined above is designed for exactly this purpose, to give your mind and body time to adjust to recovery routines.  Please know every single one of the Recovered Living NZ team is here to support you in your recovery.  If you need individual support before, during or after every meal and snack this will be available to you.  Being in Residential treatment is about doing things you are uncomfortable doing and unable to do on your own - that is why you are coming to our programme.  We will never ask you to do something we would not be willing to do ourselves.  A number of our staff have had eating disorders and are fully recovered today.  We know what it takes to recover and will support you to do the same.

Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities

Any food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities must be diagnosed and documented by means of a blood or allergy test.


While you are in the early levels of Residential, all medication and supplements are looked after by our staff.  This is to help keep you safe and to ensure RLNZ is a safe place for other people.  Your medication will be centrally stored in a personal container within a locked cabinet.  Locked refrigeration for medication is also available.  Only nursing and medical staff will have access to this cabinet.  While you are in Residential, our medical staff will refill any prescription medication that was documented and signed off on your medical form.  You have the right to refuse any medication however holding medication in your mouth and storing or disposing of it yourself later is prohibited and may result in you being asked to leave the programme as it puts both yourself and other clients at risk.

Only supplements that have approval by your medical doctor are allowed.

If you engage in traditional healing modalities respective to your culture, please talk with our nurse about this.  We will make every effort to incorporate your cultural practices into your recovery, while in our programme.


When you are awarded portioning privileges, you are expected to be in the kitchen 10 minutes prior to the time for snacks and 15 minutes prior to the time for meals.  Staff will portion for you from a set menu if you do not arrive on time.

Your hands must be washed prior to handling any food and it is a requirement to have closed toed shoes in the kitchen at all times.


Observation periods are designed to support you in not using compensatory bathroom measures after meals or snacks, as well as protecting you from behaviours such as exercising or isolating after eating. For observation periods we ask that you stay in the common areas unless accompanied by a staff member.   If you use the bathroom during observation times, a staff member will unlock the bathroom for you.  We ask that you leave the door slightly cracked so that the staff member can hear that you are safe and not engaging in behaviours.  The staff member is required to check the toilet bowl when you are finished, and will flush for you.  Observation changes can be requested on your weekly blueprint as you progress through the levels.


While RLNZ do not focus on weight as an indicator of illness or health, we also know that weight fluctuations and patterns can be important indicators of other eating disorder related issues that are important to address in recovery. Unless otherwise specified, blind weights are taken weekly on a Wednesday morning.  The dietitian is the only staff member who will give you feedback about your weight.  We ask you to wear similar clothes each time to avoid significant weight fluctuations.  In the same way it is not important for an individual to monitor their blood sugar levels unless they are a diabetic, or their blood pressure unless they are hypertensive, we hold to the philosophy that an individual has no need to monitor their weight unless it is medically necessary. As you are in recovery from an eating disorder, weight is one factor among many we will monitor for you.  Our ultimate goal is to help you develop trust in your body without needing to track it.  

Your dietitian will calculate an estimated maintenance weight range based on a combination of factors.  They will tell you when you are in this expected range and will also let you know if you drop out of maintenance on either side, or if significant changes occur.  The idea is that as your body begins to trust that you will nourish it appropriately, it will respond to food accordingly.  Over time, you will also begin to trust that your body will sit where it is genetically meant to be.

Sick Days

If you are sick while in recovery, recovery still goes on.  If you are not able to attend programme while in Residential due to illness or being contagious, you may be placed in quarantine for a period of time.  If you cannot complete solid food, we will provide a modified meal plan that meets your energy needs or oral liquid supplementation.  Any missed Programme days will need to be charged for, as this is a spot someone else would otherwise be taking.

If you are sick while in Day or Partial Programme we ask you to stay home to avoid making others sick.  Please let us know by phone or email if you are unwell.  If you need support with your meal plan it is your responsibility to reach out to the office and we will ensure you are supported during Programmed hours via phone or Zoom.

If you are unwell while participating in our Virtual Outpatient Groups we encourage you to come to group, as illness during recovery is a time you will need additional support.  We are unable to refund missed Virtual Outpatient Groups that have been paid for.

Getting ready for the day

On the early levels of our programme, returning to your room is not allowed during the day so we ask you to prepare for the day ahead of time.  Please bring an extra layer to accommodate warmer/cooler temperatures and any journals or books you might want for the day.  We have this guideline in place for two reasons.  Firstly, to mirror real life of being at uni or work and needing to be prepared for the day and secondly, so that in the early stages of recovery we can be right there for you if things get hard rather than having you struggle alone in your room.

Belongings Check

When you first come into our programme, we will check over your belongings with you present to ensure there are no prohibited items or items that may be harmful to your, or someone else’s recovery.  If you bring items into our programme that are prohibited, we will hold them for you until you discharge.  Regardless of your history with self harming, for your first week in our programme we will hold all razors, hair straighteners and tweezers until we are sure that you are able to keep yourself safe.  If you wish to use these items during your first week, you are welcome to do so with staff supervision.

Room Searches

At RLNZ we occasionally conduct room searches for a twofold purpose.  Firstly, to keep you safe in the event other clients have prohibited items.  Secondly, to help protect your recovery if you or another client has prohibited or contraband items.

Room searches may be conducted without warning however, they will always be conducted with two staff members present. Contraband items will be locked in your personal bin and any prohibited items such as laxatives or illicit drugs will be destroyed.  The presence of contraband items may result in being down levelled or privileges being revoked.  The presence of illicit items may result in being asked to leave the programme.  If you did bring contraband or illicit items into RLNZ and would like to tell us the truth about it, you will not be in trouble.  We would much rather you tell the truth in service of your recovery and get the most out of our programme.

Body Checks

If you have a history of self-harm or we have concerns about you self-harming in the RLNZ programme, we may ask you to complete a body check with our nurses.  This will always be done in private.  Knowing you are safe is a requirement of being in our programme.  Refused body checks will result in your being discharged from our programme.


For any programmed group, dietitian or therapy outings, transport will be provided by a staff member.  We ask that you wear seat belts at all times.  Any individual passes that are requested and approved will be at your own expense. For example, it is a personal expense for you to take an Uber into town.


Passes are designed for clients on higher levels to practice recovery skills and independence within a structured environment.  We recommend talking pass ideas over with your therapist and/or dietitian to find an appropriate fit for your level of recovery.  Any pass requests must be written on a ‘Pass Request’ form and are to be submitted at the Intentions group, along with your Blueprint. Your request will then be considered by the clinical team at the staff meeting with the final decision being announced at Blueprint group.

Please note:

  • All passes must be submitted at the intentions group in order to be considered.
  • Any persons accompanying you outside of RLNZ must sight and sign the pass conditions (time out/in, approved location of the outing, any required medications)
  • The pass must be signed by a staff member on your departure and arrival.
  • All parameters of the pass must be followed.  Any deviation must first be approved via a phone call to RLNZ.
  • Alcohol and substances are not permitted while on pass. 
  • While on pass you are required to be contactable via cell.

Additional guidelines for Passes:

  • Spending: Everyone has a unique relationship with money.  As a general rule we ask that you do not spend more than $50 while on pass unless it has been signed off on the pass request form by your therapist or the clinical director.
  • Clothes shopping: In order to limit stressful situations, we ask that you do not shop for clothes while on pass unless it has been signed off on the pass request form by staff.  We understand there are times when you may need new clothes if your body changes.  If this happens, we will make arrangements for you to go shopping with Recovered Living NZ staff.
  • Caffeine: You are not permitted to have caffeine while on pass unless it has been signed off on the pass request form.
  • Medication: If you are on medication that is required to be taken while on pass, we will send it with you.  It is crucial that you take it on time to allow for continuity and routine.  You are not permitted to purchase medication while on pass.  All medication must be overseen by our nursing team so we are aware of what you are taking.
  • Food: Understandably, this can be a stressful time for all involved.  In order to ease the stress, we start with passes being very specific, for example a pre-chosen restaurant and meal for you.  You will have instructions from the dietitian on how much of the meal you are required to complete.  

Group Outings 

Group outings are routinely arranged. For example, we arrange lunch or Sunday outings.  Unless you have been excused by the Director, Doctor or Psychiatrist, it is expected that you will attend all group outings.  We also ask that you stay in eyesight of accompanying staff and follow any directions given.

Lunch Outing

At meal outings, the dietitian will let you know how much you are expected to eat.  If you are unable to complete the required portion, you will be asked to supplement once back at the RLNZ house.

Client Leave of Absences

A leave of absence may occur for either a ‘test period’ where you return home or for an unexpected event like a funeral.  All leaves of absence are treated like a pass and are required to be submitted during the intentions group and approved by the clinical team.  While you are not at the facility, you or your financially responsible party are required to pay the regular daily rate, as your place in our programme is being held for you while you are absent.

Client Vehicles

You will be awarded driving privileges once you are on Level 4 in Residential.  Please do not bring your vehicle to programme until you have reached this level as we are unable to take responsibility for any damage or loss.  We ask that you park your car in the designated area and keep your keys in the office.

Unclaimed Items 

Any items left unclaimed for more than 30 days after discharge will be donated to charity.

Smoking, Vaping and E-cigarettes

Please be aware the RLNZ home is privately owned and as such, the tenancy agreement does not allow smoking, vaping or the use of e-cigarettes.  You may wear patches if you wish.  These will need to be provided by you.  We will have an outing each week where you can request to stop at a pharmacy and purchase additional patches, if required.

Alcohol and Drugs

RLNZ is a drug and alcohol-free space.  If any illegal or illicit drugs, including paraphernalia are brought into the facility, it will be destroyed without compensation to you.  The possession of illegal drugs will legally result in a report being made to the appropriate authorities.  If you come to our programme under the influence, have possession of, sell or provide drugs or alcohol to other clients, this is grounds for immediate dismissal from our programme. If you are suspected of being under the influence, we reserve the right to breathalyse you or ask you to perform a drug test.

Prohibited Items

Prohibited items include, any weight loss, calorie or shape wear items such as diet pills, laxatives, spanx, diet books, calorie counting guides, weight centric magazines or books, scales, weights, exercise equipment, fit bits, coffee, diuretics, outside food or drink items, knives, scalpels, razor blades, lighters, matches, or any other item considered dangerous or a weapon.

Inappropriate behaviour

Any bullying, sexual harassment, threats or aggression towards clients, staff or whānau members/friends of clients or staff will not be tolerated and are grounds for immediate dismissal from our programme and/or referral to appropriate authorities.  If at any time you become aware of bullying, sexual harassment, threats or aggression within our facility please report this to the Programme Coordinator or staff as soon as possible.  We will take all reports seriously and will thoroughly investigate any concerns.

The below definitions identify unacceptable behaviour:

Bullying: Seeking to harm, intimidate or coerce another person.

Sexual Harassment: The making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.

Threat: A statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.

Aggression: An unprovoked attack or harmful action against another.

Fire Drills or Fire Alarms

As deemed necessary by law, we will hold fire drills periodically.  If a fire alarm is to sound, we ask you to remain calm and follow staff directions.  Emergency exits are signed, and the collective meeting point is in the car parking area.  All doors that lead outside of the RLNZ home can be unlocked from the inside by simply lifting the handle in the direction of the roof.


  • If there is fire, you will be alerted by either the smoke alarms sounding or someone calling ‘Fire, fire, fire’.  In the event of either of these happening, please exit the building as quickly and safely as possible, meet in the carpark.
  • If you feel an earthquake, drop, cover and hold until you get the all clear from staff.  If it is long and strong once the quake is over, we ask you to meet in the carpark for further instructions.
  • We have a stormwater pond at RLNZ which is fully fenced.  Please do not climb through the fence or enter the pond under any circumstance.
  • We have animals on the property that are privately owned.  You may pat the animals at any time, providing you follow the safety instructions that are written below. 
  • If you unintentionally injure yourself while in our programme, please let one of our staff know and we can attend to your injury.


There are several privately owned animals on the RLNZ property.  The animals will come and go from time to time and may include chickens, horses, and alpacas.  You may have experience with these types of animals. However, we ask that you respect they are privately owned and follow the below safety guidelines.

You are welcome to pat the animals over the fence at any time.  We cannot control the actions of animals and are therefore not responsible if they act in a manner that is unsettling or causes you harm (for example a bite or kick).

Please do not feed the animals without staff permission. To minimize dirt and maintain hygiene standards, please do not wear outdoor shoes indoors. Wash your hands with soap and water when you return to the house.

Religious Services

RLNZ is non-denominational however we respect and support your spiritual or religious beliefs.  If you desire access to a specific religious service, we will do our best to accommodate you where possible.  This may be in the form of an online or ‘phone in’ service.  If a service you wish to attend is off-site, this may be requested on your blueprint and approved, if appropriate transportation can be arranged.

Political Rights

Should an election fall during your time at RLNZ, we will ensure you are able to vote if you choose to do so.

Implementation of House Rules and Policies

The house rules and policies are in place to keep everyone safe and our programme running efficiently and effectively.  The following breaches of rules or policies are grounds for meeting with the Director to discuss if you are the right fit for our programme.

  • Rude, threatening or aggressive behaviour towards others
  • Infringing on the rights of others
  • Causing physical harm to yourself, others, or animals
  • Intentionally damaging property
  • Sexual harassment or advances
  • Repeated failure to comply with house rules and policies

After meeting with the Director you may be asked to:

  • Verbally consent to comply with the house rules and policies
  • Sign a written contract around complying with the house rules and policies
  • Discharge from the RLNZ programme


You will be liable to pay for any intentional damage you cause to goods or equipment while you are in our programme.

Support Person or Advocate

If at any time during our programme you would like a support person or advocate, information on this process can be found at Through community organizations and at your request, RLNZ can endeavour to connect you with Cultural Advocacy Support Workers, Faith Based Support Workers or Rainbow Support Workers.  Please ask RLNZ staff if this is something you would like during your time with us. 


At RLNZ we will not ask you to do anything that we would not be willing to do ourselves.  This means everyone in the house participates in our programme together, staff and clients alike.  It is a requirement of our programme that you attend scheduled groups, meals, and individual sessions.  When you leave our programme and reintegrate into life, recovery needs to be your number one priority.  If you are sad, mad, sick or excited, recovery still needs to happen.  We will ask you to practice this during your time with us, no matter what is going on in your mind or body, putting recovery first will be a necessary skill to have integrated before you leave.  Not attending groups, meals or sessions has an impact on the rest of the house and the group dynamics.  Part of being a client at the RLNZ programme involves participation.

If you decline to attend three groups or individual sessions, we will have a conversation with you about whether our programme is the right fit for you.

Client and Whānau Complaints and Grievances

It is our intention that open, honest communication is the foundation for all of our relationships.  Should you have any issues with your treatment plan or welfare during your time at RLNZ, please know this can be addressed with your therapist and/or the Director.

You have the right to complain orally or in writing about your treatment from anyone associated with RLNZ, staff, students, peers or volunteers.


Speak with your therapist or the Director.  You have the right to bring a support person to this meeting, a whānau member, peer or professional advocate.

Speak with staff as soon as possible after the event which has prompted the complaint.  If your issue is with a specific incident please note the date, time and person/s involved (if any).  Where possible, identify what could be done to improve or fix your concerns. At this stage you can decide if you would like to make a verbal or written complaint.

If you choose to make a verbal complaint, we will process this with you and help you air your grievance with the individual/s concerned, within three working days if possible.

We will help you attempt to resolve the issue/s to the best of our ability. 

If you choose to make a written complaint please either hand it to the Director or email [email protected].  If the complaint is about the Director or you do not feel comfortable speaking with the Director, your complaint may be mailed to the RLNZ Charitable Trust board who operate independently of the RLNZ programme.

The Charitable Trusts address is:

C/O Gerard DeCourcy

PO Box 1345 

Dunedin 9055

New Zealand

Or email [email protected]

We will formally note your complaint in our records.  We will assign someone to investigate and resolve your complaint.  

Your complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days of being received and will be investigated in a manner that is:

  • Thorough and fair
  • Makes every attempt to resolve the issue
  • Respects your rights to privacy
  • Consults with all involved
  • Attempts to resolve the issue in the most efficient manner and appropriate timeframe

Our aim is to investigate and resolve your complaint within two weeks, however if this is not possible, we will update you with our progress within this timeframe.  

We will continue to keep you regularly updated throughout the process (every 10 working days). The outcome of the investigation will be discussed with you and confirmed in writing. 

If you are unhappy with the resolution of your complaint, you can write and ask for it to be reviewed by a manager. They will acknowledge this request within five working days via email and will carry out a review of your concerns.  We will continue to keep you regularly updated throughout the process (every 10 working days).  The outcome of the investigation will be discussed with you and confirmed in writing. 

Other Options

You may seek support or advice regarding your complaint, the complaints process or your rights at any time by contacting Health & Disability Commission on 0800 11 2 33 Both Pakeha and Maori advocates are available at this free service.

Your rights are also available in various languages and can be found at: 

Informed Consent and Record Access

RLNZ produces annual reports providing information to funders on the demographics of our clients for example, age, district of residence (for example Otago or Southland) and ethnicity.  This type of non-identifying demographic data would have been requested and explained during the initial phone assessment.  If at any time you wish to revoke your participation in our data collection, please let the Programme Coordinator know and we will respect your wishes.

It is your right to be informed of all decisions, care plans, goals and any outside communication concerning your time with us.  

All signed documents are kept as part of your file.  These include:

  • Admission Documents
  • Releases of information
  • Financial obligations, fees and payment
  • Discharge documents

In the event you are not legally responsible for yourself, your caregiver or guardian may sign the above-mentioned documents on your behalf.  If you require emergency medical care; medication or interventions may occur without your consent.

Medical information that is used to make decisions about your care is available to you, should you request it.


At times RLNZ may participate in research focussed on eating disorders. It is your choice to participate and you may withdraw your participation at any time or choose not to participate at all. As part of our research, we may contact you after discharge to see how you are progressing in recovery at one month, three months, six months, one year, three years, five years and ten years.  It is our hope to undertake long term research into our methodology and treatment methods to provide insight into recovery timeframes after admission to RLNZ.


You have the right to have information we have about you corrected, if it is found to be incorrect.

Students & Volunteers

On occasion, RLNZ may have students, interns or volunteers observing, learning or helping in our programme.  All students, interns or volunteers will be subject to the same privacy, confidentiality and code of conduct that our staff members follow.

Privacy & Confidentiality Practices

The following details how health information about you may be used or disclosed, and how you can access this information.

Both privacy and confidentiality at RLNZ are protected by law and by RLNZ policy.  In all privacy and confidentiality matters, the Privacy Act 2020 will be observed.  

We may share information about you or your health with our treatment team so that you can get the very best possible care.  For example, if you are on medication, our nursing team will be made aware of this so that they can call in prescriptions.  A staff member may agree not to share information however, this only applies to specific details or elements of a report.  For example, if you were to disclose sensitive childhood events and specifically requested that information to remain confidential then the specifics of the incident/s may remain confidential. However, the treatment team would be made aware that you had disclosed sensitive childhood events. 

We may share information about you (with your consent) to your outpatient team so that when you return home your medical doctor, psychiatrist or dietitian is aware of what has been happening during your time with us.

How we protect your privacy:

  • Our facility and cars are unmarked.
  • Our facility address is not advertised on a public domain.
  • Services are provided with maximum visual and auditory privacy where possible.
  • All clients have the opportunity to communicate with staff and visitors in private.
  • Any handovers between staff occur in the staff room.
  • All staff can lock or unlock doors with a master key.
  • Clients have access to a phone in a private room if necessary.

We respect your privacy and comply with ethical industry standards to maintain your confidentiality.  In order to protect your privacy we refer to our group in any public situation (for example at a meal outing) as a group of co-workers - that is, working on your recovery!

We ask that you respect others' privacy and confidentiality by refraining from taking photographs or video of our grounds or home that have other clients in the frame without their express permission.  With regards to social media we prohibit posting other clients' names, photos from outings or any identifying information in relation to their time with RLNZ unless you have their express permission to do so.

In order for RLNZ to be a private place, we ask that only friends and whānau who intend to visit you, are given the address of the RLNZ home.

In Closing

We trust this document has given you a detailed picture of our programme, protocols and guidelines.  If you have any questions, please reach out!  We look forward to meeting you soon and assisting you in your recovery journey.