How do you care for a person with an Ostomy?

How do you care for a person with an Ostomy

Understanding the effects of ostomy surgery and supporting the patient are essential parts of the recovery process. You may already be familiar with the fundamentals of an ostomy, but do you know how to care for someone with an ostomy?

New ostomates experience a wide range of emotions. It is crucial to recognize that physical and emotional recovery following surgery may occur at varying rates, given that everyone processes emotions differently.

Often, people have various questions about ostomies or colostomies, and we would like to assist. At Quality Life Services Home Health, we offer ostomy care in addition to pre-and post-operative recuperation. Continue reading to better understand what these procedures entail and how you can help and care for a loved one with an ostomy.

What is an Ostomy?

Ostomy surgery is a life-saving procedure that permits human waste to flow through a surgically constructed stoma on the abdomen into a prosthetic pouch or ostomy bag outside the body. Numerous medical conditions, including birth abnormalities, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and incontinence, may necessitate an ostomy. 

Ostomy surgery can be performed at any age, does not reduce life expectancy, and often marks the beginning of a “new normal” life. 

What is the Purpose of an Ostomy?

An ostomy allows bodily waste to be expelled via a new opening (stoma) in the abdominal wall. An ostomy can be permanent or temporary. When someone has an ostomy, they must wear a special pouch over the stoma to collect waste.

What’s the Difference Between an Ostomy and a Colostomy?

There is no significant difference between an ostomy and a colostomy. A colostomy is a type of ostomy that enables the body to pass feces when the colon is not functioning normally or when a portion of the colon must be removed due to illness.

Five Chief Concerns When Caring for Someone With a New Ostomy

You may have questions regarding your loved one’s ostomy, how to care for their stoma, and how to help them to continue living the life they choose, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. At QLS, we offer support for people living with an ostomy.  

Below are five common ostomy concerns: 


1. Leakage beneath the pouching system

Sometimes, patients experience leakage below the pouching system. To help fix this problem, consider how the skin is prepared before putting it on the pouch. If the products are not appropriately applied, adhesion difficulties may arise. Ask the patient whether they are cleaning out the bag or placing anything in it. 

The most important thing, however, is to find out where the leak is. If it’s always in the same spot, check to see if there are any folds or uneven surfaces, like scar tissue, incisions, or your belly button, that could make the surface under the barrier uneven. If this is the case, you could try a barrier ring as a filler to make the surface area more even. 

Always ensure that the stoma size in the barrier is correct. When the barrier fits where the skin and the stoma meet, it’s a good fit. There should be no exposed skin between the stoma and the barrier’s opening.

2. Irritated, weepy skin

Irritated skin can be a struggle for many individuals with an ostomy. There should not be any skin breakdown, open sores, or a rash under the barrier. You’ll need to examine where precisely the skin is breaking down and how long it has been occurring. 

Could something have led to this irritation, such as leakage, or perhaps the barrier being removed too quickly? How is the skin prepared for the skin barrier? You could try using stoma powder to absorb moisture from broken skin surrounding the stoma, which may allow for better adhesion of the skin barrier. 

It’s vital that all aspects of this issue are considered and that the underlying causes of the skin irritation are addressed.

3. There’s an odor that others may notice

There can be an odor when the pouch is emptied and a slightly different smell when it leaks—the trick is to figure out which one it is. When emptying an ostomy bag, a lubricating deodorant is a great way to neutralize the smell of the stool. 

You may also want to consider a pouch with a filter that neutralizes gas-induced odor. Ensure that stool leakage does not reach the exterior of the closure system. If neither of these explanations is the case, the barrier may be starting to separate from the skin, allowing odor to escape; signaling the beginnings of a leak.

4. Pouching system doesn’t remain fixed or stay on

If the pouch system is not staying on, the barrier seal could be an issue. To determine how long the system should be worn, remember that each individual is unique and will have different needs. 

A general rule of thumb is to assess how many days the product can be relied upon to produce a secure seal without leaking. When switching pouching systems, observe the back of the barrier. 

If stool or urine from the stoma has leaked under the barrier, the barrier seal has been compromised and may stop sticking to the skin. Should this occur, the barrier must be changed. It is essential to regularly replace the product, which can be determined by the lack of stoma drainage under the barrier and the condition of your skin.

5. Worry about the pouching system being seen

When a pouch is filled with gas or drainage, it will expand and may become visible beneath clothing. A pouch with a filter can assist in the gas release. 

Help your loved one empty their pouch when it’s between one-third to half-full. When a pouch is filled, the additional weight on the barrier may result in leakage. Finding the right pouching system for the patient is essential when it comes to discretion. 

Ostomy Care in Cincinnati, Ohio

As someone caring for an ostomy patient, it is imperative to remember that new life adjustments take time but will eventually become more manageable.

With the assistance of a skilled and qualified nurse from Quality Life Services Home Health, you can take it step by step. If you or a loved one requires ostomy care at home, please contact us at (513) 860-1405. Alternatively, you can also request additional information by filling out this online form.

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