Use of community resources before inflammatory bowel disease surgery

31 Dec
2011

Use of community resources before inflammatory bowel disease surgery is associated with postsurgical quality of life

Peer support has the potential to offer benefits to people with chronic illnesses that are not as readily available through traditional medical settings, such as the perception of shared understanding and the benefits associated with al­truism and modelling. In addition, the high degree of lay par­ticipation in peer support groups compared with medical settings results in lower costs. As a result, community agen­cies have become increasingly important to both health care professionals and patients in the management of chronic ill­ness. Furthermore, as the delivery of health care shifts to­ward community-based care, the role of community agencies is likely to expand.

Seeking and receiving help, and providing help to others are major forms of coping activity. The availability of someone to provide emotional or practical support may pro­tect individuals from some of the negative consequences of major illness. Participation in community agencies is one form of social support that is readily available in many settings. While research in other conditions shows that com­munity resources can have a lasting influence on the course of the illness, little research has been done to evaluate community agencies specifically designed to address the needs of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In community support groups, participation has been reported to be as low as 20% of eligible participants.

It has been estimated that 70% to 80% of people with Crohn’s disease and 30% of people with ulcerative colitis will have at least one operation in their lifetime. The need for surgery has been found to be among the most signifi­cant concerns contributing to health-related quality of life in IBD patients. Surgical outcomes, therefore, are an im­portant area in which to assess the impact of community re­sources. The present study surveyed the awareness of community agency resources among patients who have had surgery for IBD, and analyzed the association between using these resources and qualitative postsurgical outcomes.
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