Forums for those living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), affects almost 25,000 people in New South Wales.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from nib foundation, Crohn's & Colitis Australia (CCA) will roll out forums throughout New South Wales to address what is a growing demand for support and information for those with the diseases and their families.

From May, forums will be held at Sydney Children's Hospital and Westmead Children's Hospital as well as John Hunter Hospital Newcastle. These aim to provide patients with the opportunity to participate in an informative, educational forum in a safe learning environment.

CCA Chief Executive Officer, Francesca Manglaviti, said that these chronic illnesses can be diagnosed at any age, although most commonly among people aged between 15 to 35 years.

“People living with IBD have an ongoing need for up-to-date information and a better understanding of their diagnosis and management of the condition,” Ms Manglaviti said.

“Greater knowledge enables not only patients, but also carers and families, to feel better equipped to manage the various challenges the disease presents every day. “We conduct two IBD forums: one dealing specifically with issues faced by children and adolescents and their carers and another for all ages, which provide the latest information and developments regarding disease management. Equally important though, it connects people living with IBD enabling them to share their experiences and develop peer-to-peer support networks,” she added.

“CCA relies on fundraising and membership fees to run information forums. Without the funding from nib foundation, this forum program would not have been possible,” Ms Manglaviti said.

“nib foundation’s grant has allowed us to expand our forum program into areas of great need, which we know will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of those who take part,” she added.

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch, said the foundation is delighted to provide the funding support that will help fill the service and funding gaps for people living with these illnesses.

“There are many groups across Australia, such as Crohn's and Colitis Australia, that are working hard to meet service demands but are limited purely by funding,” Mr Lynch said.

“It gives us great pleasure to provide this grant to Crohn's & Colitis Australia that will help them to provide better support services and information to the hundreds of people who are expected to attend the forums across the state.”

The first of the Sydney IBD forums will be conducted at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, on Wednesday 21 May 2014.