Ostomy Patient Care: Tips To Keep In Mind

When a patient goes through an ostomy, it is important to keep a few post-surgical tips in mind, to make sure that the healing process happens properly, without any infection or discomfort.

3 Types Of Ostomy

Here are the 3 main types of ostomy:

  • Colostomy: The surgical way to open the colon, or large intestine, to remove a part of the colon or rectum.
  • Ileostomy: The surgical opening made in the small intestine that may also remove some part or the entirety of the colon.
  • Urostomy: The surgical procedure that helps to remove urine from an infected or affected bladder and diverts it.

Tips To Care For An Ostomy Patient

  • Clean out the pouch system when it is about a third full, so that it does not become too heavy by the time you take it out.
  • It is always best to change the pouch system in a place where there is direct running water, as it will help you clean out the pouch without creating a mess. Also try to keep a waste bin and some toilet paper handy.
  • Make sure that the pouch does not have any cuts or holes in it, and definitely do not make any holes in the pouch to remove any gas. If there are any holes in the pouch it will not hold the odour in.
  • To remove any gas build up in the pouch, flatten it out at regular intervals and get the gas out.
  • It is important to change the pouch at least once in 3 days, and if required faster.
  • To prevent any skin infection for the patient in the area where the ostomy has taken place, you can use a protective barrier while wiping the skin so that it does not get affected by the pouch.
  • In case you use any medicated powder on the ostomy area, make sure to dust away any excess powder so that it does not stick to the patient’s skin and cause any discomfort.
  • For those patients who have to use a pouch after a urostomy procedure, it is best to attach the pouch to a drainage bag for the night. This way, the contents will automatically drain out and the pouch will not get too full through the night while you sleep.
  • You can also use pouch covers that will help to offer some privacy to the patient. For those patients who want to use the pouch themselves without anyone else helping them, you could go for pre-cut and mouldable skin barriers that are easy to use for those who have arthritis issues, or are visually challenged.
  • While using any medicated ointment or topical form of medication, make sure that you allow enough time after application for the cream to get absorbed in the skin, before putting on the pouch.

Your doctor will give you the best guidance on how to care for an ostomy patient, but these tips are also important to make sure the patient remains comfortable and also to reduce the risk of any infection.

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