ImproveCareNow Engagement


Growing Our Engagement Community – A How To Manual

The MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Parent/Patient Advisory Team (PPAT) was honored to be selected for an ImproveCareNow (ICN) Patient and Parent Innovation Fund award in the fall of 2017. As a team of parents, patients and healthcare providers, this award enabled us to work together to provide valuable educational programs aimed at increasing and family knowledge of IBD, and much-needed opportunities for patients and families to network with others to share information, knowledge and know-how.

As a team, we have chronicled our collaborative, year-long journey of working together to increase the number of participants enrolled in our PPAT engagement group and formalize a model that others across the ICN Network can steal shamelessly. Our project has culminated in a “How to Manual”, which we are excited to continue sharing across the ICN Network at our upcoming Virtual Community Conference. This manual shares our lessons learned, challenges, tips, and strategies to achieve success in growing a local engagement program that will connect, support, and engage IBD patients and their families. Our hope is that the manual will serve as a catalyst to help other centers achieve similar partnerships, which will result in improved IBD care and outcomes.


Knowledge is Power – Our IBD GROW event

Transition of care is a hot topic in our Pediatric Gastroenterology division. We have many patients with lifelong diagnoses, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, who will eventually need to move to adult care. In the past, transition and transfer of care have been a bit like an elephant in the room as patients near their 18th birthday. Questions are nervously broached by parents at the end of office visits: “How much longer will you see my son/daughter? Where do we go? What if we don’t want to see an adult doctor?” These encounters made our team realize that we needed to do a better job preparing patients and their parents for transition and transfer of care. The question was, where do we start?


Getting What You Need, When It’s Needed

My brother has ulcerative colitis. For too long, I watched him suffer without access to the things he needed (education about the disease, a treatment that worked and that he was on board with, support and understanding). My brother, and everyone living with IBD, deserves to have access to all the tools, information, resources and support needed to not just survive with IBD – but to thrive.


What We Learned at the Fall Community Conference, and What We're Doing Now

Thanks to the generosity of the ImproveCareNow community, and the hard work and dedication of our parent and patient partners, 30 members of the Parent Working Group and Patient Advisory Council joined us at the Fall 2018 Community Conference in Chicago. It’s been two months since we returned to our respective communities, and some parent and patient partners wanted to share their reflections on what they learned while at the conference and how they are using this at their local center to improve care.


Collaboration. Connections. Community.

These three words (collaboration, connections, community) come to my mind when I think of ImproveCareNow (ICN). And they represent three reasons I love leading our Family Advisory Council and sharing ICN with the families of Dayton Children’s. These are my people. They understand my life. They, too, know what it’s like to parent a child with IBD.

It is for all of these reasons that I am thrilled to host Virtual Community Conference (VCC) Watch Parties – so we can collaborate, connect and feel like we’re part of a community.


What are Engagement trainings?

ImproveCareNow Community Engagement Learning Series (CELS) trainings were designed by patients, parents, clinicians, and ImproveCareNow staff to share best practices and new skills. Whether you are just getting started or have an established team, you will get something out of these trainings. Each session presents new skills, and provides a chance to work with others to plan how to implement what you learned at your center. Each CELS training is designed to empower you to connect more patients and parents to your team, to build relationships, develop leaders, and share information that improves lives.


The strength of our community

I always get nervous before group meetings. I worry that no one will show up or that the material won’t be helpful. Last Wednesday was no exception. When I walked into a conference room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital I was nervous but shouldn’t have been. I was greeted by smiles, waves, and pizza.

I felt comfortable, accepted, and ready to learn.


ImproveCareNow Launches NEW Community Engagement Learning Series

ImproveCareNow Engagement Campaign Director, Chris Keck, has announced that four Community Engagement Learning Series (CELS) trainings will be offered in summer 2018. CELS trainings - designed collaboratively by patients, parents, clinicians and ImproveCareNow staff members - are intended for interested ICN community members and teams as a way to share best practices and introduce new skills in an active learning environment. Summer 2018 sessions will focus on volunteer recruitment, team and relationship building, leadership development and using personal storytelling to explain and make change in health care.


The Virtual Community Conference Helped Me Help My Son

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My four-year-old son had recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and the worst part about the whole thing was the needles! IVs, blood draws, shots, Humira injections, etc. Around the same time as his diagnosis, I attended an ICN Virtual Community Conference and that’s where I heard about Buzzy.


Community members as codesigners

ImproveCareNow centers work hard to provide excellent care for pediatric patients and their families. The seamless sharing of clinical tools and approaches among participating centers is a vital part of their success. Now, we aim to codesign more tools & materials to share with and support patients and families in their day-to-day lives.

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