In My Shoes for healthcare professionals
Whether you work in primary or secondary care, you can make a real difference to the lives of people affected by Crohn's and Colitis by trying the In My Shoes app and using our resources to promote the app to colleagues and patients.
In My Shoes: 24 Hours with Crohn’s or Colitis is a free, immersive app which enables anyone in a patient's support network to step into the life of someone living with these conditions for one day. From depleting energy levels to managing pain, from rushing to the toilet to juggling work and a social life, the app helps the user experience first-hand how these conditions can affect every part of the body, and every aspect of life.
The app has shown that it increases user understanding of and empathy for patients living with Crohn's and Colitis. And using the app as a tool, IBD teams can encourage self-management, by empowering those with Crohn’s and Colitis to start important conversations with their support network.
To help you get the most out of the app we're created a range of resources for healthcare professionals:
- Find out about the benefits of the app in our healthcare professional guide
- Watch video testimonials from healthcare professionals and patients
- See our patient guide that helps empower patients to recommend the app to their friends and family
- Share our NHS comms guide with your hospital's Communication team to help spread the word
- Download our colour and black and white posters to promote the app to patients in consultation and waiting rooms
- Add our In My Shoes graphic to your email signature and patient letters to promote the app
You can scroll below to view the healthcare professional guide in full below or download the guide.
In My Shoes: 24 Hours with Crohn’s or Colitis
A Guide for Healthcare Professionals
It’s an amazing app.
It really made me think about how much I have under-estimated the impact of IBD on the patient’s life and all aspects of it. Having had a day of using it, I started to think “I’m not sure I can do it tomorrow because I’m at work,” the irony being that patients never have a choice and can’t turn of their disease like we can switch off the app!
In My Shoes: 24 Hours with Crohn’s or Colitis is a free, immersive app which enables people to ‘step into the shoes’ of someone living with Crohn’s or Colitis. The app experience is designed to be completed by the friends, family and colleagues of people living with Crohn’s and Colitis, rather than by the people living with the conditions themselves. It was created to help people living with these conditions build up a support network who are understanding, empathetic and keen to have conversations about what it is like to live with Crohn’s or Colitis.
In My Shoes has already made a difference to the lives of people living with Crohn’s or Colitis, but we believe, with your help, the benefits could be felt by many more.
This guide has been developed to give you more information about In My Shoes. We have two asks:
1) Many healthcare professionals involved in the care of people with Crohn’s or Colitis have tried the app themselves and as you will read later on, are keen to recommend it! Will you and your IBD service colleagues do the app experience together?
2) Will you recommend the app to your patients?
All about In My Shoes
The Insight: Many people with Crohn’s or Colitis feel that their condition is poorly understood by the wider public – and even by their own friends and families. 76% of people with Crohn’s and Colitis don’t think the general public understand their needs.1
People also face discrimination in the workplace and 1 in 2 people have faced discrimination for trying to use an accessible toilet.2
The Big Idea: In 2019, Takeda and Crohn’s & Colitis UK worked together to create In My Shoes: 24 Hours with Crohn’s or Colitis. The app allows anyone to step into the life of someone living with Crohn’s or Colitis for a day, experiencing a series of tasks and choices which prompt the user to think about how the conditions can impact daily life.
From depleting energy levels to managing pain, from rushing to the toilet to juggling work and a social life, the app helps the user to experience firsthand how these conditions can affect every part of the body, and every aspect of life.
The Impact of the coronavirus pandemic
In Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s Life in Lockdown survey of 7,666 supporters, we found that nearly half (46%) of people living with Crohn’s or Colitis felt isolated, with 48% reporting that their mental health had been negatively affected.3
Amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, it becomes increasingly important that people living with Crohn’s or Colitis feel connected, understood, and empowered to have open conversations with people in their lives. The In My Shoes app experience helps to initiate these conversations.
Over 30,000 downloads. In the week after launch, the app was the second most downloaded Health & Fitness app on Google Play.
Survey data from people who completed the app experience show an increase in people being able to explain how Crohn’s and Colitis can affect people day to day and increases in understanding and empathy.4
As clinicians I think we’re often very focussed on our patients’ symptoms – on pain, diarrhoea, bleeding – but this app reminds us that actually, having IBD really affects every facet of our patients’ lives – from their social life to exercise, their diet, their work. I see it as being particularly useful in newly diagnosed patients, to help their friends and family really understand what IBD means.
This is a great way as a healthcare professional to gain some understanding of what patients go through on a daily basis. It is not only the symptoms of a flare up that can affect someone’s quality of life but also the emotional effects of missing out on social occasions. Some days may be better than others and with an insight into these days we can gain a better understanding of how this invisible illness can change on a daily basis. Not everyone will understand why someone feels well in the morning but need to go to bed in the afternoon and by using the app patients may feel reassured that their loved one or healthcare professional gets it.
For more video testimonials of In My Shoes download our guide for healthcare professionals, scroll down to the end of this page, or visit our Youtube channel.
How you can get involved
At the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting how IBD Services are able to deliver care to people with Crohn’s or Colitis. People living with Crohn’s or Colitis can find it very hard to articulate the burden that their condition places on them, and this may have worsened due to shielding and heightened isolation from national lockdowns.
- Try the app experience out for yourself?
- Recommend that a person with Crohn’s or Colitis asks a loved one or work colleague
- to download In My Shoes to help that person address some of the feelings of
- loneliness and isolation they are experiencing?
There is no one ‘right time’ or ‘best time’ to talk to patients about In My Shoes, as everyone’s individual circumstances will be different. These might be some useful cues/touchpoints to look for:
- A patient is newly diagnosed
- Your patient mentions in a consultation that they have been feeling isolated, lonely, or feels that nobody understands what they are going through
- Your patient is struggling at work and wants to talk to their employer about their Crohn’s or Colitis but doesn’t know where to start
We've developed a patient guide to In My Shoes, and this is available to view and download here.
How you can spread the word
The app has already made a difference to the lives of people living with Crohn’s or Colitis, but with your help, the benefits could be felt by many more. This app makes a difference to patients by giving them a tool they can use with friends and family to build understanding, empathy and support.
We have developed a number of resources designed to help you spread the word about the app and the valuable work your IBD Service is already doing to share it with patients.
Sharing your own stories
If you recommend the app to a patient and they benefit as a result, consider sharing their story (with their permission of course!). Speak with your communications team about ways you can work together to do this, and to talk about the app in general. Some ideas include:
- A story in a local newspaper about how your IBD Service is championing an app that has been proven to improve empathy and understanding for people with Crohn’s and Colitis – a local patient shares their Crohn’s story and how their friend/relative doing the app experience has improved things for them
- A story on your local evening news show about how you and all your colleagues within the IBD Service took the 24-hour app experience to put yourselves in the shoes of the patients you care for every day – and in doing so raised money for your hospital/Crohns & Colitis UK
- An article on your hospital website/intranet about your IBD Service’s commitment to recommend the app to your patients
- A talk given at your local/regional professional meetings about your app experiences
- If your Service is already on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, consider posting about In My Shoes. You can also follow, like and share IMS posts from Crohn’s & Colitis UK
You can use your range of resources to help you make the most of In My Shoes:
- A colour and black and white poster to display in consultation and clinic waiting rooms
- A flyer/PDF to share with patients
- A graphic to be added to your email signature and/or included in your patient letters
- Video content
- Guide for the communications team
Thank you for your support!
Download In My Shoes
- Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s Life in Lockdown survey, July 2020.
- Immunology_DoF_25Jan2019_MI_PC_001 (unpublished data from Toilet Consortium UK’s 2017 Survey, July 2017).
- Crohn’s & Colitis UK – Life in Lockdown survey, published September 2020. Isolation statistic (46%) – data on file, Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Remaining data accessed at: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/news/how-coronavirus-has-affected-people-with-crohns-and-colitis-you-told-us. Last accessed May 2021.
- Takeda Data on File EXA/UK/GI/0014
In My Shoes: 24 Hours with Crohn’s or Colitis has been developed through a partnership between Crohn’s & Colitis UK and Takeda UK, one of Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s corporate partners.