A majority of individuals with Crohn’s disease find permanent relief through ostomy surgery. The total number of people with stomas in the US is 450,000, and 120,000 new ostomy cases are registered every year. These states suggest that patients must find ways to overcome difficulties of stoma management. Fortunately, healthcare professionals and stoma care nurses are available across the country to provide stoma care guidance.
Ostomy care challenges and Crohn’s disease
It can be pretty difficult for many patients to live with a stoma, particularly when they are first learning to manage it. The critical elements of stoma care are leak prevention, ostomy bag emptying, and taking care of the skin around the stoma. Many patients find it hard to manage their stomas. Many patients hesitate to commit to a physically active lifestyle because they fear their ostomy pouches dislodging during their workout. That is why every patient must get adequate knowledge of how to manage their stomas. That’s where the role of healthcare professionals and ostomy care nurses becomes important.
Useful teaching points
- The first question most ostomy patients will ask is how often to empty an ostomy pouch. Although it is one of the most uncomfortable subjects for such patients, they must learn how to empty their pouches to prevent leakage and other complications. It is the job of doctors and stoma care nurses to assure their patients about the simplicity of the procedure. They should insist their patients empty their ostomy pouches when they are one-third to half full. They should also help their patients understand the procedure that seems simplest and most effective.
- The skin around the stoma is particularly vulnerable to irritation and infections due to the high risk of contact with the stomal output. Skin complications that may occur are contact dermatitis, skin infection, and papular over-granulation. Cleaning the area around the stoma using a pH-balanced cleansing product can help prevent infections. Using barrier products around the stoma helps reduce the risk of moisture accumulation, which is usually the main reason for peristomal skin infections.
- A stoma can function properly without causing any leaks with the help of a stoma pouch that uses strong but medically-safe adhesives. A long-lasting medical adhesive will not only prevent leakages but also help patients lead a fuller and more active life. It is also crucial to avoid any mechanical traumas and irritation from the adhesive. Certain medical adhesives make allergic contact with the peristomal skin, causing pain, itching, and erythema. Skin damage can occur as a result of the frequent removal of adhesives. So, it is crucial to choose a medical adhesive that is gentle on the skin.
- The teaching will not be helpful if the patient is unwilling to comply. Healthcare professionals should help their patients understand that all stoma care guidelines are for their benefit. Skipping on any stoma care elements will result in an affected quality of life. They must help their patients understand that a stoma doesn’t mean a disability. All it takes is proper compliance from the patient.