Guiding Patients Living With a Stoma

The first weeks and months after ostomy surgery are challenging for every patient. Whether it’s getting to grips with a new appliance or learning how to keep peristomal skin healthy, it can be an overwhelming experience.

As their healthcare professional or stoma care nurse, you will need to give patients the confidence and information to get back to doing the things they enjoy. To this end, we’ve outlined an array of educational resources that are ideal for sharing with ostomates in your care.

The resources range from easy-reference cards and leaflets to detailed booklets and step-by-step videos. At a time where the global healthcare crisis is minimising face-to-face consultations, it’s never been more important to give your patients the best possible guidance.

Life after surgery
Going into hospital for a life-changing operation, regardless of the surgery, is often a time filled with doubt and uncertainty. Over many years of listening to patients and healthcare providers, we have learned a lot about what people need to know during this period.

That’s why we’ve created a series of comprehensive Hints and Tips that ostomy patients can turn to whenever they have a question before or after surgery.

There’s one guide each for colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy, and hernia patients. These resources include a mix of real-life experiences, facts about medical conditions, and basics for people who are in the early stages of their ostomy journey.

The guides also cover eating and drinking, relationships and sex, exercise and activity, comfortable clothing, travelling and getting back to work. It’s all about putting patients’ minds at rest as they adjust to a new way of living.

How does my appliance work?
Every person living with a stoma is taught how to fit a new appliance, change their pouch, and maintain the day-to-day care of a stoma. But many people struggle to retain the details at a time of rapid change and emotional stress.

That’s why we’ve created a series of informative booklets and videos on the different one and two-piece appliances available. Patients can keep this information handy for whenever they’re unsure about something – or if they experience a new problem related to the appliances they are using.

These resources include a set of photo-illustrated Bathroom Tips, focused on the basics of emptying pouches and implementing a hygiene routine. We’ve created these concise cards so that they can be printed out and slotted into the patient’s toilet bag. Perfect for easy reference when needed.

How can I live the best life possible?
Reassuring patients that they can live a full life is an essential part of helping them recover from surgery and adjust to having a stoma. To complement the support of healthcare professionals, we’ve produced a booklet covering the interconnected issues of body image, emotional wellbeing, sex and relationships.

These topics are all vital concerns for anyone adjusting to life after surgery. Guidance has been designed to reassure patients and encourage them to talk about anything that’s playing on their mind.

If patients are ready for more detailed guidance on emotional matters, you can also direct them to the Life with Your Stoma section of the Dansac website, where they’ll find a variety of helpful resources.

How can I stay fit and healthy?
Physical wellbeing is just as important as psychological health during post-surgery recovery. If you can keep your weight down, it could help you avoid complications after stoma formation. Staying active will also contribute to your general sense of wellbeing.

As our article on General Exercise Tips After Stoma Surgery says, it’s vital that you don’t do any workouts that could be detrimental to your body. It’s essential to start an exercise routine slowly and to stop if something feels uncomfortable. Ask your healthcare professional for guidance if you’re unsure what’s likely to cause more harm than good.

An equally important aspect of staying healthy for ostomy patients is looking after the skin around the stoma. We have lots of resources on the role this can play in every patient’s general health. This guidance includes information on preventing infections and other common peristomal skin complications.

Nutrition is another critical area we cover. Once again, you can use our Hints and Tips Guides to read how different food types play a crucial role during the recovery phase. Here you will also find thoughtful tips on striking a balanced diet, and clear guidance on when it’s important to seek additional dietary advice.

Ask us anything
Of course, even such a wide range of resources can’t cover every eventuality or answer every possible patient question. That’s why perhaps our most valuable resource for healthcare professionals is right here. By visiting our contact page, you can relay your patients’ questions to our team. We’re here to help both you and your ostomy patients during this challenging time.