August 19, 2020

Help us support our IBD patients in the north

Anita, a local young mother, welcomed her first child with her husband just over three months ago, a beautiful baby boy named Riaan. Her pregnancy was challenging as Anita has Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the bowel that requires lifelong treatment and monitoring when the condition flares.

Anita was initially diagnosed five years ago at Northern Hospital Epping and continues to receive care for her condition from our Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) team. Like many chronic conditions, it came on suddenly and unexpectedly, and impacts on Anita’s quality of life as well as that of her growing family. When she experiences flares, she is unable to go to work and social outings, and experiences increased levels of pain which can be debilitating.

During her pregnancy, Anita was referred to an alternative health service for an intestinal ultrasound (IUS) – the only safe radiological investigation for pregnant IBD patients – the results of which help to guide treatment. Currently, these ultrasounds are not available at Northern Health and patients requiring this need to be referred to other hospitals.

“I think there’s a lot of anxiety behind it. There was a lag in getting the appointment and I was getting anxious – I wanted to make sure that the disease was under control because I was already a high-risk pregnancy. Then it’s the inconvenience of having to travel and explain your situation again to a new health professional,” Anita said.

Anita said it would be fantastic to see IUS at Northern Health. “While you’re having the ultrasound done, you can actually see what’s happening and manage the disease better – they can pinpoint if you’re having a flare-up or if one is coming on, so it gives you a sense of relief,” she said.

Northern Health Foundation have launched their Major Raffle for 2020, which will raise funds to support the purchase of IUS. Introducing Intestinal Ultrasounds to Northern Health will alleviate the need for patients in the northern community to travel to other health services, keeping them closer to home. This will reduce wait times, improve continuity of care and provide immediate information about the severity of the disease – providing better outcomes for patients.

Anita’s mother, Shanthi, has seen firsthand the impact of Anita’s condition and looks forward to IUS being introduced. “We need it around this area, so people don’t have to travel and go through that stressful waiting period – not just talking about my daughter but for other patients as well,” she said.

“With Anita’s flare-ups, you do really worry because it changes her whole lifestyle. Now, with the baby, I do get very anxious, but we are there to support her,” Shanthi added.

Anita with her mother, Shanthi

IBD Clinical Nurse Consultant, Charys Winter, works with these patients, including Anita, every day. She said, “IUS will be an extremely useful tool to engage patients in their care and management, and most importantly their understanding of their disease. To be able to update their treatment on the spot will be of tremendous benefit.”

Charys encourages our community to purchase raffle tickets as a way of giving back to their local health service. “If you’re a member of our hospital community and if you have received a benefit from that, it’s a nice way to pay it forward – to be involved, buy a ticket and help support – as it might even be for you or a relative that need our care one day.”

Click here to purchase your tickets today and support patients like Anita.

The total raffle prize pool includes:
First prize: A stunning brand new Toyota Corolla Hybrid Hatch – RRP $30,393.40
Second prize: Helicopter Joy Flight – RRP $4,500
Third prize: UPPAbaby VISTA V2 Pram and Bassinet – RRP $2,099
Fourth prize: One night in Mantra Epping Penthouse Suite including Breakfast and Dinner for two – RRP $750

By purchasing a ticket, you can feel proud of supporting the important work of Northern Health. If you buy five tickets in one transaction, you will go in the running to win a $500 Coles/Myer Gift Card! If you purchase your tickets before Wednesday 23 September 2020, you will also enter our Early Bird Draw to win a $500 Coles/Myer Gift Card.