World IBD Day May 2019

World IBD Day 19th May 2019

For World IBD Day 2019, the Irish Society for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (ISCC) is delighted to launch our exciting new App IBDWell, which will include support information, 'no waiting' cards available in seventeen languages, toilet map, health tracker, mindfulness exercises and more.

We are still waiting for the Minister to make good the commitment promised following our 2017 #DoubleUp campaign. This campaign is still calling for the number of specialist Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) nurses to be increased to at least 28, bringing Ireland in line with international best practice. Much progress has  been made since the campaign started when there were only 14 IBD nurses in Ireland, but there is still a way to go! 

A survey of service providers treating patients with IBD, conducted by the Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG), found that the lack of dedicated specialist nurses in Ireland is the greatest barrier to delivering patient care.

Over 40,000 people in Ireland are living with IBD, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30. Furthermore, paediatric cases of IBD have increased three-fold in Ireland since 2003.

However, Irish research shows that 45% of hospitals across the country have no specialist nurse treating IBD patients.

Most Irish patients are hospitalised within two years of diagnosis and more than half will eventually need surgery. Almost half of Irish people living with IBD have lost their job due to the condition.

The #DoubleUp campaign is urging the Government to, at a minimum, double the number of nurses in Ireland to treat IBD as currently access to nursing care is not the same for everyone. 

Every IBD patient deserves to have access to the care of a specialist nurse. The role these nurses play in IBD patients’ lives is incredibly powerful -  providing care and specialist advice on treatment and on living with IBD day-to-day. It’s an invaluable, cost-effective and readily available service and we owe it to the growing number of patients in Ireland to deliver better care through increased levels of specialist nurses.

Professor Colm O’Morain, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Trinity College Dublin and the Beacon Hospital, Dublin

Despite the efforts of all specialists working in IBD, there are several challenges that prevent patients in Ireland from receiving timely diagnosis and equitable access to specialised care and diagnostic tests.

The IBD nurse’s role has traditionally evolved to meet the demands of the hospital and is considered pivotal to the safe and timely delivery of care to people living with IBD, facilitating rapid access to care for symptomatic patients, providing education, counselling and drug monitoring, and acting as a point of contact for advice for patients.

Mary Forry, IBD Nurse Specialist, Beaumont Hospital Dublin

The Gut Decisions report 2015 is available here