Nearly 70,000 veterans of the United States military are living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. As vets seek care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) healthcare system, they need to learn how to be their own health advocate. What kind of doctor or specialist to see for treatment, where to go for care and how to best manage their disease are all important questions they need to have answers to.
Whether diagnosed while in service or after they were discharged, these veterans need reliable information and resources to navigate their healthcare options and connect with others service members living with IBD. On November 8, Dr. Mark S. Salem and Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Nelson will be available for interviews to help answer some common questions veterans with IBD have and offer helpful tips for living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. During this segment, they will discuss the following tips:
- Ensure you have both a gastroenterologist and a primary care doctor.
- Seek help of a social worker, care coordinator, or patient navigator within the VA.
- Make sure that you adhere to recommendations for follow-up visits with your healthcare team.
- Keep a list of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications with you.
- Access the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s veterans’ resources to learn more and find support in your disease journey.