Crohn's Disease: a Patient Education Plan

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Sarah is a bright, energetic 18-year-old high school senior. She leads a very active life playing soccer and lacrosse for her high school and excels academically. Recently, Sarah has been losing weight and has been less energetic. For the past few months she has been experiencing abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea. Her lack of energy has begun to show by recently missed practices and declining grades. Sarah's parents were concerned about their daughter's health so they brought her to the doctor's in which she was recently diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

Sarah lives with both parents and two younger brothers in suburban Maryland. It is noted that Sarah's maternal grandmother had irritable bowel syndrome. Sarah is planning on going to college in the fall and will need a large amount of education on nutrition, medications, and symptoms of the disease so that she can manage the disease independently. Sarah states that she learns best by reading.

Crohn's disease is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, usually the colon, although it can be found anywhere in the digestive tract. There is no proven cause of Crohn's disease but according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease's (2006), "the most popular theory is that the body's immune system reacts abnormally mistaking bacteria, foods and other substances for being foreign" (Crohn's Disease, para 5), the intestines become inflamed and swell and ulcers form leading to diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding. Other symptoms associated with Crohn's disease include abdominal pain and cramping, bloody stools, ulcers, fever, reduced appetite and weight loss, arthritis, and skin problems.

A diagnoses of Crohn's disease to an active 18year old girl can be devastating. At 18, girls are usually concerned with their image and outward appearance. Sarah would also be concerned about her independence and quality of life. Fitting in with her peers and...
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