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Stoma product selection: a guide for community nurses

02 January 2022
Volume 27 · Issue 1


With 205 000 people in the UK with a stoma, it is likely that community nurses will need to consider which stoma products are most appropriate to use with this group of patients. This article explores the three output stomas, what stoma appliances are most commonly used for each type of stoma and why. Understanding how often stoma appliances should be changed empowers the community nurse in their decision-making process to ascertain whether changes to current care are needed. There is also information available about some of the more commonly used stoma accessories and when these may be necessary. With so many stoma-related products available, it can be difficult to know what to use and when; therefore, this article seeks to offer data to aid stoma care in the community.

There are now known to be over 200 000 people in the UK with a stoma (Burch, 2021), with this population predominantly living in the community. The three stomas that will be explored in this article are the colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy. The most common reasons to form a faecal output stoma are colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticular disease. A common rationale for a urine output stoma to be formed is for bladder cancer, although this is the least common of the three stoma types.

A stoma is formed during surgery to bring a piece of bowel through an incision made in the abdominal wall. The bowel can be used to pass faeces if the passage of faeces needs to be altered, such as due to a rectal cancer surgery. Alternatively, a small portion of bowel can be used as a conduit to pass urine. In appearance, a stoma will be red or pink; to touch, it is warm and moist. A stoma can be formed either as a temporary or permanent measure. In general, a temporary stoma is in place for several months to years, depending on the reason behind its formation.

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