ImproveCareNow EEN


PAC Moment: Holiday Stress & Eating

Last December, @ICNPatients shared how holiday stress and eating can affect IBD and their wellbeing. We are re-sharing today, because we are coming into the summer holiday season. With more gatherings and food offerings on the horizon, we hope you'll take a PAC moment to learn how patients with IBD might experience these celebrations:


Taking Care to the Next Level - How Patients are Making a Difference

Mahalakshmi (Maha) Parakala is an active member of the Patient Advisory Council and currently serves a co-leader of their recruitment taskforce. She is a LOOP contributor, has presented during ICN Community Conferences, has co-developed IBD resources, and recently co-hosted an episode of the new imPACt podcast. At our Spring Live Online Community Conference, Maha shared her story about discovering patient advocacy and the role it has played in her life during our Engagement Plenary Better Together: Growing our CIRCLE Community to Take Care to the Next Level.

Please enjoy Maha's presentation, which we have shared both as a video and in transcript form, below:


Feeding tubes are something more people should know about

Hi, I’m Makenna and I’m here to talk to you about Feeding Tubes. In my experience, they are something not a lot of people know about and I want to change that.


IGNITE - This community has shaped me deeply.

From her home office, Catalina spoke clearly and with great conviction, delivering her narrative directly to…her computer screen. Many of us have become accustomed to hearing Ignite Talks delivered to a packed plenary room at our in-person Community Conferences – and the effect these personal stories have is often palpable. Though it was not the original plan, Cat’s words flowed from her location in North Carolina across hundreds and even thousands of miles, reaching ImproveCareNow community members as they joined our first-ever Live Online Community Conference from their homes and offices. While the distance between was indeed great – Cat’s words drew us in close and (as Ignite Talks tend to do) reignited the passion we all feel for the work of ImproveCareNow - of improving health and care for kids with IBD. And from across the miles, the effect of Cat's words were still palpable:

“Incredible Cat!! Words do not do justice to what you are conveying to all of us - the village of ICN!”

“Inspiring for us all! Makes you want to try even harder!”

“You are incredible Cat!!! Your strength and advocacy is inspiring!!! THANK YOU!!!”

“I'M CRYING”

“You remind us why it is so worth it to keep fighting and working. Thank you!”

“Cat gives me chills.”

*stands up and claps*

“Really beautiful. As a caregiver, I feel your passion and share your sense of purpose. Very well done.”

Experience Cat’s Ignite Talk:


Patient Perspectives: Nutrition & IBD – a New Resource for Patients by Patients

My name is Maddie. I am a member of the Patient Advisory Council (PAC) and a contributor to the PAC’s latest IBD Resource – Patient Perspectives: Nutrition & IBD. This booklet is very important to me and the other contributors who have used nutritional interventions to treat and manage their IBD.

Nutrition is an important part of life and for IBD patients it can play an essential role in overall health. Nutrition can be used as a primary treatment, as well as secondary or complimentary treatment, which can support overall well-being. Sharing our experiences with nutritional interventions helps us raise awareness of how nutrition fits into real-life IBD treatment and management. It allows us to offer support and reassurance to other patients who are making decisions about or coping with nutritional interventions – that they are not alone.


Sustenance, for a healthy life

My name is Maddie. I am 16 years old and I have Crohn’s disease (CD). I have used nutritional therapy as a primary treatment for my Crohn’s disease since my diagnosis at the age of 13. Nutritional therapy has changed my life – both my health and my relationship with food.


Personal experience with nutritional interventions

On June 5, 2017, my single, overweight suitcase and I boarded a plane flying from Miami to London Heathrow. Over the course of the next six months, I shadowed and worked with the IBD Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a tertiary children’s hospital in the center of London. As a Political Science major who intends to go into medicine, the opportunity to study how IBD patients were being cared for under the UK’s health system was too enticing.


A little experiment in drinking

So, a few weeks ago, at the Spring Community Conference, I ran an experiment (with a little help from my friends). The goal was to get conference-goers to commit to 24 hours of experiencing one – single – lifestyle change that some patients with IBD face when trying to get their guts to “quiet down.”  I invited them (after doing it myself) to replace their daily meals with liquid nutrition, while continuing with business as usual (attending a professional conference, where many were looking forward to a nice meal with their colleagues and friends on Friday evening). Further, I challenged them to spend meal and snack times interacting with others at the conference, who I like to refer to as “eaters.”


Cincinnati Children’s EEN Challenge

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About 12 of us participated in the Cincinnati Children’s enteral nutrition challenge – including physicians, nurses, and medical assistants.

Here is a summary of what we observed:


Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s EEN Challenge

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When our dietitian first approached our Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital IBD team about using Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) as treatment for patients with Crohn’s disease, we had our doubts. Could simply drinking formula really help a patient with Crohn’s disease get into remission? Thanks to strong encouragement from our dietitian, Nicole, and the lovely folks at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who shared their experience with us, we began developing a protocol for using EEN for the induction of remission in patients with Crohn’s disease.


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