Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will now be able to assess and present their fatigue symptoms to their healthcare professionals by using an online tool that helps to measure fatigue levels, which was developed by Crohn’s & Colitis UK in partnership with the King’s College London and Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
Fatigue is one of the symptoms that IBD patients experience, especially when the disease is in its active phase, and it may have a relevant impact on a patient’s daily life and quality of life. Still, unlike inflammation or even pain, it may not be so easy to measure it, even for doctors.
According to Helen Terry, director of patient support and information at Crohn’s and Colitis and quoted by Nursing Times.net, “some doctors and nurses are unaware of how much fatigue can affect people with IBD.”
Still, the charity reports through its webpage that many patients experience difficulties in keeping up with physical activities, trouble in thinking logically and in speech, and in memory and concentration. Fatigue can also negatively influence social and close relationships, and it may affect patients’ capacity to deal with anger, frustration, low confidence, and even depression.
The new online tool allows reaching measurable results through the use of a fatigue rating scale. By answering to some questions patients may identify if they suffer from fatigue at a first stage and, at a second stage, to become aware of how much that fatigue is influencing their daily life.
By assessing their rate of fatigue, patients may discuss it with their doctors, understand its origins, and reach the best way to reduce its impact according to each patient’s background.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK considers this online tool a “ground-breaking advance” for patients and doctors, the reason why patients are being asked to “use this IBD Fatigue Scale to enable them to formally discuss their fatigue with their medical teams,” said Helen Terry.
The scale was based on research results published in the Journal of Crohn’s & Colitis.