Riley open house to educate patients, caregivers on Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Joseph Knoop

For many, a disease can often be as intimidating as it is painful. For those diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Chron’s Disease, a lifetime, non-fatal disease with no cure, it can cause great amounts of stress for both patients and family members who support them. One program by Riley Hospital for Children aims to provide patients and their caregivers with a comfortable environment to learn more about the disease and how to best live with it.

The IBD Education Open House, hosted by Riley’s Pediatric GI practice, will bring a number of doctors and nurses to a “science fair” style event in Carmel dedicated to providing guidance in a comfortable manner.

“We wanted to create a unique educational event,” Clinical Research Coordinator Kimberly Shelly said. “We didn’t want it too didactic, meaning somebody stands up and gives you a seminar. We wanted people to come in at any point in their diagnosis and be able to get their answers. So that’s why we came up with idea of educational pods or resource centers.”

IBD affects approximately 1.6 million Americans, with as many as 70,000 new diagnoses made each year. IBD commonly causes a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation impairs ability of organs like the stomach, intestines, liver or rectum to function properly, which can lead to abdominal pain, bleeding, weight loss and fatigue among other symptoms.

“Some kids are required to come in every four to eight weeks and sit for two to three hours in an infusion center getting their medication,” Shelly said. “If you read a lot about it on the internet, of course if seems like a scary thing, but if you’re comfortable enough to pop into (IU North Hospital), we can talk to patients and help them understand their own triggers and needs.”

The IBD Education Open House is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. April 30 at the IU North Learning Center, 11700 N. Meridian St., Carmel. Event questions can be directed to Shelly at kashelly@iu.edu.

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