Southampton professionals spend ‘day in life’ using 24-hour app

Staff at University of Southampton NHS Foundation Trust are using an innovative app to experience a day in the life of their patients.

The inflammatory bowel disease team in Southampton have become the first clinical team in the UK to use the In My Shoes app to understand how Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can impact patients’ lives.

The app launched this month and has been developed by national charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK and Takeda UK.

Anne Sanderson, clinical nurse specialist in gastroenterology at UHS “The app is a great way for us to have a conversation with our IBD patients about what they’re going through and it has really helped us relate to them in a very different way and a way we haven’t before.”

“I wondered if the app would tell me something I didn’t already know about what our patients go through. However, it was very interesting to have to think constantly about where were the nearest toilets – not knowing when that urge would come and whether or not to stay in to be safe or go out and run the risk of an accident.”

“I think, aside from healthcare professionals, for friends and family with no insight this will be a great way of having a small understanding of what the patient goes through.”

The app delivers notifications to users which include a three-minute warning to find a toilet and if a type of food may trigger symptoms. It aims to break down stigma, reduce isolation and encourage people to think of ways they can support friends, family and colleagues living with IBD, as well as prompting conversations between patients and their healthcare teams.

Sarah Sleet, CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis UK “Understanding what people with Crohn’s and colitis go through is so important to improve the lives of everybody living with these debilitating conditions.”

“The In My Shoes app sparks conversations that soon lead to practical things we can all do to help.”

Anna Wills, senior gastroenterology dietitian, said “The app demonstrates how being too tired to eat and having to manage diet around medications would be a challenge and I can see how patients either choose less nutritious quick meals or nothing at all, compromising their nutritional intake.”

“I like to think I have a lot of empathy with patients but the app certainly made me more aware of what patients face day-to-day – we only had a taster for 24 hours, they live with this every day.”