Psychological Care for People with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Exploring Consumers' Perspectives to Inform Future Service Co-design

Dig Dis Sci. 2024 Jun;69(6):1979-1989. doi: 10.1007/s10620-024-08377-x. Epub 2024 Apr 18.


Background: There is a need to improve psychological care for people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), noting the high psychosocial burden of disease.

Aims: This study qualitatively explored the views of people living with IBD to help inform future co-design of services that better meet the psychological needs of consumers.

Methods: Adults with IBD were recruited to attend virtual focus groups to discuss what they want most in an IBD-specific psychological service. The discussions were recorded and transcribed, and data were analyzed using conventional qualitative content analysis. Draft results were summarized midway and reviewed by remaining focus groups and a final expert consumer. A quantitative dataset was created of comment frequencies.

Results: Thirty-one participants took part in the study: 10 focus groups were held with an average of three participants per group. The analysis identified 254 codes, 38 sub-categories and six categories. Five main categories were identified for an IBD-specific psychological service: People-Centered Healthcare (commented on by 90% of participants), Education and Preparation (83%), Social Connection (83%), Psychological Input (93%), and Accessible Services (97%). Results were summarized in a set of proposed clinical guidelines.

Conclusions: The findings of this study identify important insights from people living with IBD regarding priorities for psychological services. IBD services should focus on improving education, addressing social connection, and integrating psychological input, as well as becoming more people-centered and accessible. It is hoped that IBD services consult the proposed clinical guidelines to inform co-designed service improvements.

Keywords: Co-design; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Psychological factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / psychology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult