For IBD Nurses
December- IBD Awareness
Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week is on December 1-7, 2013. This week is reserved to encourage all Americans to join in the effort to find cures for inflammatory bowel diseases, help raise awareness and support research for the 1.4 million Americans battling Crohn’s and colitis.
December is also a popular time of year for travel, and traveling can pose special challenges for individuals who struggle with IBD. It is also the time of year when Medicare Open Enrollment season ends. You can help your patients to be ready for these events with the below tips.
Additionally, December is the month when CCFA holds its annual conference for physicians, nurses, researchers and other allied healthcare providers to learn about Crohn’s and colitis research and disease management. You can help improve your own IBD awareness by attending the conference this year or by checking out the presentation slides that are available on the meeting website after the conclusion of the conference at www.advancesinibd.com.
TIP #1: Help spread the word about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis by getting involved in Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week and encouraging your patients to do the same.
Holidays can be stressful for everyone, and IBD patients may experience flares in their symptoms.
In support of Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week, CCFA is asking people to:
- Write to their House Representatives and encourage them to join the Crohn’s & Colitis Caucus;
- “Like” the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America on Facebook and follow the Foundation on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (@ccfa_ibd);
- Update all social media channels with CCFA Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week social media updates;
- Sign up for CCFA’s e-newsletter;
- Start your own fundraising page;
- Reach out to anyone you know with IBD and let them know you care.
- Visit www.ccfa.org to learn more about the diseases and get more patient resources, including CCFA’s IBD Help Center
TIP #2: Remind your older patients with IBD about the looming Medicare Open enrollment deadline, which is December 7, 2013.
Changes in Medicare have occurred! Offer Medicare-eligible patients the Medicare website address: http://www.medicare.gov/medicare-and-you/whats-new/whats-new.html. Remind these patients that it is only by acquiring accurate information that they can make informed decisions regarding their coverage during the coming year.
Additionally, CCFA is hosting two upcoming live webcasts that may be of interest to you and your patients:
Managing the Costs of IBD
To be held Wednesday, December 18th at 8:00 PM ET
Registration is limited! More information can be found at: www.ccfa.org/resources/finances-webcast.html
Health Insurance Marketplace 101
To be held Wednesday, January 29th at 3:00 pm ET
Registration is limited! More information will be made available soon at: http://www.ccfa.org/resources/webcasts.html
TIP #3: Help air and train travelers to plan carefully, with the following ideas in mind:
- Consider choosing aisle seating to increase the ease of getting up to use the restroom.
- Warn patients not to get dehydrated in an effort avoid using the bathroom—staying hydrated may be particularly important when traveling by air, as flying can heighten dehydration.
- Encourage patients to pack medications and ostomy supplies in carry-on luggage.
- Tell patients to advise security if they have needles and injectable medications.
- Offer patients the CCFA Air Travel 101 - TSA FAQ.
TIP #4: Suggest that car travelers might want to consider mapping out restroom stops in advance.
“SitorSquat” by Charmin public bathroom locator can assist patients locate the closest bathroom, provide reviews (or allow you to review them) and sometimes has pictures (or allow you to upload). Patients can also access SitorSquat by Charmin through CCFA’s GI Buddy disease management tracker (online or via the app). Some patients pack a portable toilet as needed as well.
TIP #5: Offer your patients a list of items that other patients with IBD have found to be “travel necessities,” such as:
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- A change of clothes
- Emergency telephone numbers: gastroenterologist, surgeon (if applicable), primary care MD
- Original medication containers with extra medication, not just little travel packs
- For injectable medications, remember a portable sharps container and ice packs if medications should be kept cold
TIP #6: Offer additional considerations for international travelers.
- Inquire about appropriate vaccines
- Consider taking along antibiotics for possible travelers diarrhea
- Always bring toilet paper as in some countries there is a charge for use of toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer, as running water may not be available for washing hands
- ALWAYS inquire about the safety of drinking water
TIP #7: Offer additional considerations for patients who receive infusion therapy and will travel away for the winter and for college students who will be home from college for extended periods of time.
For instance, Janssen Biotech provides a website that allows you to plug in the zip code of where your patient will be and gives a list of sites in that area that do infusions (2infuse.com). A word of warning; pay attention to the area where it states if they have infliximab infusion experience or not, some do not. Also, note that this is not an all-inclusive list of infliximab infusion centers, just the ones that have registered with Janssen. Check with the other biologic providers to see if they offer similar information or assistance through their website or help-lines.
TIP #8: Expand your own IBD awareness by availing yourself of the information available through the Advances in IBD conference website.
- Learn details of the upcoming meeting in Hollywood, Florida (Dec. 12 – 14) at http://www.advancesinibd.com/ and consider attending the conference.
- Download slides from previous conferences and invest time studying the current cutting-edge science related to IBD management.
CCFA Overview of Nursing initiatives Committee
These monthly nursing tips are provided by the CCFA Nursing initiatives committee. The 2012-2015 Nursing Initiative Committee is comprised of 23 nurses from across the US. If you have suggestions for content or want more information about the Nursing Initiatives Committee please contact Orna Ehrlich, Director, Professional Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.