ImproveCareNow Parent_partners


IGNITE - Taking the journey together.

Heidi's #IgniteTalk is a powerful reminder that while IBD may be part of your life, you don't have to do it alone. There is value in connecting with others to give and receive support, in #TalkingAboutIBD because every story matters and has the power to change someone else's story, in offering what you have learned on your journey in the hope that it can help another person outsmart IBD.

Be inspired by Heidi's #IgniteTalk 🔥 


Innovation Update – IV Sweatshirt prototype is comfortable and efficient

Ella and I want to thank you all for your incredible response to our first blog post where we introduced the IV Sweatshirt Project! If you haven’t read our story yet, we encourage you to start there – in it we share about Ella’s diagnosis with Crohn’s disease, our journey to find a treatment that worked for her, and how her experience ultimately led us to create something together to help kids like her stay warm and comfortable while getting infusions.

After a few trials and some delays due to COVID-19, we are excited to share that we have received a solid prototype of our IV sweatshirt design and have been able to test it at our infusion center!


FAQ about the Shared Decision Making Toolkit for IBD Surgery

At April’s Live Online Community Conference (LOCC), Dayton Children’s introduced the Should I have IBD surgery? shared decision-making webtool and Dear Ostomy video. These resources are key components of an IBD Surgery Shared Decision-Making Toolkit that the Dayton team created using an ImproveCareNow (ICN) Innovation Fund award, made possible with support from the Clare Foundation. The toolkit generated a lot of excitement and questions, so project leaders, Dr. Kelly Sandberg and parent Shellie Doub took some time to answer to the most frequently asked questions.


Staying warm and comfortable during infusions

Hi, my name is Ella and I am 12 years old. I am currently a 7th grader who likes spending time outdoors and hanging out with my friends and family.

When I was nine years old, I started feeling sick. I was nauseous all the time, had trouble eating without pain and was so tired I could barely get through the school day. By the time summer arrived, I couldn’t even walk an entire block without feeling ill. We didn’t know how serious it was until I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 10. By then, I had stopped growing and was severely underweight. It was very difficult for me, especially in the beginning. The first rounds of medication were not successful; I couldn’t tolerate them. In August of 2017, I began receiving IV infusions (Remicade) at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. I am now in remission and feel great but going for IV infusions as often as every four weeks, as well as taking oral medications, is my new “normal” and the inspiration for an innovative project I’m working on.


Navigating Empathy and Emotional Labor with Patient Advocates

My name is Catalina - I’m a current co-chair of the ICN Patient Advisory Council, a social/clinical research assistant at the University of North Carolina and will be starting medical school soon. I recently gave a presentation at the Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence about emotional labor, empathy and how to navigate these concepts when working with patient advocates. I wanted to share some of my talking points with you here.


I will never forget the day my son’s symptoms began

My name is Ann, and I will never forget the day my son's symptoms began. There were six of us. We had all gone out to enjoy a Chinese dinner. The time was the summer of 2009. Later that night, Richard who was 8 years old, started vomiting. We thought he probably was reacting to something in the restaurant food, but none of the rest of us had a problem. This was the start of Richard’s trouble with Crohn’s disease.


Creating an ICN-like learning network for autoimmune liver disease

Hi, I’m Jane, “Mom” to beautiful 20-year-old Nicole. I serve as a parent representative at CCHMC for ImproveCareNow (ICN) and our local network called: IBDevoted. I am also a Board member of the local chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. In my professional career, I work for a large Catholic healthcare system handling medical malpractice cases. While I’m not technically a healthcare professional, I joke that “I play one on TV”!


Our involvement with ICN has been a family affair

Hello Fellow Improvers! I am Nicole and I have been part of the ICN Community for four years. During this time, I’ve been grateful to enjoy several Community Conferences and have been an active participant in improving care both at the national level with the ICN Parent Working Group (PWG) and locally as the Co-Lead of the Parent/Patient Advisory Team (PPAT) at my care center in Massachusetts. I'm pleased to introduce my family to you!


IGNITE - Find your purpose and help others

“NO ONE can prepare a parent to hear that their child has to live with a lifelong medical condition and that there is NO CURE.” - Maria Lester

Maria has lived through this twice. The first time was when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 4-years-old. Then, nine years later her youngest was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis at 6-years-old. After each heartbreaking diagnosis, Maria remembers reassuring her children that everything would be OK. And in those moments, she found her purpose – she was going to do everything in her power to make sure it would be OK. She dove in headfirst, connecting with disease communities to get support and learn all she could about these diagnoses. She said yes to opportunities to partner - to contribute her time and talent to improve the lives of not only her children, but other families walking the same path she has walked. Through this she has learned a powerful lesson – “that when you find your purpose, you realize there is a cause bigger than yourself and shows you the strength you never thought you had.”

Below is Maria’s full #IGNITETALK from our Fall 2019 Community Conference. As you read her words, ask yourself: what is my purpose?


Making lemonade

Our son, Grant was an extremely active 13-year-old who played lacrosse and tennis, mountain biked and skied. It was hard to believe he had a disease when he looked and acted so healthy. What caught our attention was an abscess that would not heal. After three surgeries, a series of tests, and a colonoscopy, it was confirmed Grant did, indeed, have Crohn’s disease.


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