Driving improved and equitable outcomes for IBD patients across all stages of life

inflammatory bowel disease patients

Long-term immunological conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), have a significant impact on patients’ lives. Beyond the direct physical health implications, living with a life-long condition can be devastating in patients' personal lives, work lives, and on their mental health.

And the impact of IBD can vary dramatically throughout a lifetime. For instance, young people wanting to explore the world just like their friends yet feeling held back by ‘embarrassing’ symptoms, or parents unable to give their full attention to their work and children whilst experiencing a debilitating IBD flare-up.

Personalising treatment, no matter the age

Treatments have a huge role to play in improving quality of life, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach, particularly when it comes to chronic diseases. In recent years, the increasing availability of new, personalised treatments has transformed IBD patient care. Innovations in treatments, including advances in treatment administration that enables people to access at-home treatment, providing people with treatment choice and permitting an improved quality of life whilst managing their condition.

Clinical research and general awareness of the condition are typically geared at certain age-brackets of patient populations, however. This can leave whole groups of people unable to benefit from innovative treatment options and left feeling isolated due to their age at diagnosis.

Increasing clinical understanding and general awareness of IBD in different age groups will support a shift in mindset and ensure that every person with IBD is empowered to overcome the condition and its symptoms. It was for this reason that Celltrion Healthcare partnered with the patient organisation, the European Federation of Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA): to raise awareness of this issue for World IBD Day, back on 19th May.The campaign, Where’s CC? (Crohn’s & Colitis), aimed to raise awareness of how IBD has no age, supporting all patients to feel represented and ultimately able to access high-quality care and innovative treatment options.

Delivering meaningful change for patients

Working closely with patients is central to ensuring meaningful change is delivered for all IBD patients. Salvo Leone, EFCCA’s chairman, who himself has IBD, is passionate about highlighting to newly diagnosed patients that their IBD will not define them. By working closely with their doctor to explore treatment options, all patients can find the right treatment option that enables them to live a full, healthy life, no matter their age.

They also don’t need to do this alone. No matter where they live or their stage of life upon diagnosis, there will be a local patient support group available to help them on their journey with IBD.

The importance of seeking such help can be seen in the case of Molly O’Donoghue, a 20-year-old Ulcerative Colitis (UC) patient. She has noted that being diagnosed with UC at 15 made her think she would never be able to move away to university or go travelling with her friends. She was on a downward spiral, becoming depressed and isolated, until she found an at-home treatment that gave her a new freedom to do these things She is passionate about the importance of people with IBD not being ashamed of their condition, and talking about the challenges that come with learning to live with the condition at different stages of life.

Across the healthcare industry, our mission should be to bring more advanced therapeutics within everyone's reach. We all must remain committed to improving patient outcomes and providing optimal disease management to reduce the burden on patients’ day-to-day lives.

Kevin Byoung Seo Choi
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Kevin Byoung Seo Choi
12 June, 2023