Stoma care training is essential in order to ensure that patients with a stoma receive the best possible care. The purpose of stoma care is to protect and manage the wound, promote healing, prevent leakage and odour, reduce skin irritation, and increase patient comfort. It also helps to minimise the risk of infection, improve quality of life and restore the patient’s sense of dignity.
Stoma care training provides nurses and other healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to provide safe and effective stoma care. They must be knowledgeable about proper stoma maintenance techniques, personal hygiene and safety precautions, as well as be able to recognise signs of complications such as infection or irritation of the skin, and provide appropriate management. They need to be familiar with the stoma appliances available and how to correctly fit them.
Without adequate stoma care training, patients may experience complications that can be harmful to their health and quality of life. In addition, inadequate training may lead to errors in stoma care, which can lead to legal liability for healthcare providers. Therefore, it is vital that all healthcare providers caring for patients with a stoma have access to comprehensive training in this area.
This Stoma care training guides will provide you with the essential knowledge and understanding of Stoma care.
What is a Stoma?
A stoma is a surgically created opening in the body, usually in the abdomen, that allows the contents of one organ to pass directly through it and become visible on the outside of the body. This opening is often used for those who are dealing with illnesses like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, as it can allow waste materials from their bowels or bladder to pass safely out of the body without using other organs. The stoma can also be used for some forms of surgery such as bowel resection, where part of the intestine needs to be removed.
A stoma is an important part of allowing a person with a chronic illness to live life as normally as possible, as it helps them maintain flexibility in their lifestyle whilst staying healthy.
When and why are stomas required?
A stoma is a surgical procedure that involves creating an opening in the abdominal wall to allow bodily waste, such as stool or urine, to be released through it. This procedure is necessary when the body can no longer pass waste through the natural channels and organs.
The most common reasons a stoma may be required are cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and intestinal injury or obstruction. Stomas are also used to divert urine from the bladder and provide urinary diversion for individuals who have lost their bladder because of cancer or trauma.
Sometimes, a stoma may provide temporary digestive or urinary diversion until the underlying condition has been treated. In other cases, the stoma may be permanent and necessary for long-term management of the medical issue. Although having a stoma can affect one’s lifestyle, many individuals with a stoma can lead healthy lives with few restrictions. With proper medical care and support, individuals with a stoma can regain their quality of life.
What are the different types of Stoma?
Stomas are surgically created openings between the internal organs of the body and the outside surface, usually of the abdomen.
There are different stomas, depending on the purpose they serve. Colostomies involve creating an opening in the large intestine, which will allow waste to be removed from the body. Ileostomies involve creating an opening in the small intestine allowing for removal of both food and waste. Urostomies involve creating an opening in the urinary tract for the collection of urine.
Finally, a gastrostomy involves creating an opening in the stomach for tube-feeding or the drainage of fluid buildup. No matter what type of stoma is needed, all patients should remain mindful of proper stoma care to ensure their health and well-being.
What is a Stoma bag?
A stoma bag, also known as an ostomy pouch or ostomy appliance, is a pouch that attaches to the body and collects waste from a surgically created opening (stoma) in the abdominal wall.
The stoma typically leads to a portion of the intestinal tract; however, it can be connected to other organs, such as the urinary tract. Stoma bags are usually made of soft plastic or latex and are designed to be discreet, durable, and secure. They come with an adhesive backing to ensure a tight seal and are often equipped with an anti-leak system to prevent any waste leaking out.
Depending on the type of surgery, the pouch may be either one-piece or two-piece. The one-piece system is designed to be easily removed and replaced while the two-piece system requires special tools and techniques to change.For comfort and convenience, there are many different types of stoma bags available on the market today, ranging from regular bags to more specialised ones for active lifestyles.
How do you empty a Stoma bag?
It’s important to properly dispose of stoma bags and their contents, as they contain waste matter which could cause infections if mishandled. The first step is to make sure the bag is secured safely around the stoma area before attempting to drain it. Depending on the type of bag you have, this process can vary, but your healthcare provider can provide detailed instructions specific for your situation.
Once secured, open the drainage valve and sit the bag in a bowl or basin of warm water. This will help to loosen any blockages. Once the flow has begun, it can usually be allowed to empty into a toilet or down the sink. If emptying into a toilet, flush twice afterwards to ensure all waste matter was removed from the bowl.
Once the bag has been emptied, it should be disinfected with a suitable solution. This helps to stop any bacteria or germs from entering the stoma area. Stoma bags can also be washed in warm soapy water and rinsed thoroughly before being dried and put back on. Make sure you wear gloves when coming into contact with the stoma bag at all times.
How should you care for someone with a Stoma?
When caring for someone with a stoma, it is important to ensure that their dignity and comfort are maintained throughout.
First, the care worker should assess what type of stoma the patient has and whether they require additional equipment or supplies. Next, the care worker should provide education on how to maintain the stoma, such as cleaning and changing the bag, and checking that the area around the stoma is free from irritation.
The care worker should also check that the patient’s skin is in good condition, recommending emollients and barrier creams if necessary.
Finally, mental health support should be offered, as patients can often feel anxious or embarrassed about having a stoma; providing emotional support can help them adjust to life with this medical device.
What does a healthy stoma look like?
A healthy stoma should appear moist, pink, and velvety in texture. It should be roughly the size of a dime or smaller, and should have no drainage, bleeding, discolouration, or signs of infection. If an ostomy appliance is being used, it should fit snugly against the stoma with no leakage or unnatural bulging.
Skin around the stoma should appear normal with no redness, irritation, inflammation, or other signs of irritation or infection.
Stomas may protrude slightly after surgery and will flatten over time as the abdomen heals.
Proper care of the stoma can help to promote a healthy stoma appearance. This includes changing the ostomy appliance regularly, following manufacturer guidelines for product use, and cleaning and moisturising the skin around the stoma as needed.
What problems can occur with a stoma?
There are potential risks associated with stomas that must be considered.
- Stoma leakage can occur because of poor product fit or positioning of the wafer/base plate, which can lead to skin irritation, discomfort, and even infection. When combined with issues related to diet, this can cause pain and further denigrate the patient’s quality of life.
- Stoma prolapse may occur if the bowel becomes protruded through the stoma opening in the abdominal wall. This can be painful, both physically and emotionally; it also requires a visit to a doctor or surgeon for eventual correction.
- Strictures may occur when the stoma narrows due to scar tissue build up in the area, again causing physical and emotional distress that must be managed clinically.
Overall, while stomas can be beneficial alternatives to other treatments, potential complications must be considered and managed properly in order to ensure a successful treatment outcome.
Free Stoma care training resources
- Colostomy UK – Caring for a person with a stoma: A practical guide for staff in nursing and residential homes and for home carers (PDF)
- Colostomy UK – Caring for a person with a stoma and dementia (PDF)
- SecuriCare – Stoma Care for Health Care Assistants (PDF)
- CliniMed – Colostomy – A practical guide to stoma care