Resuming activities with a stoma
A stoma, or ostomy, is surgically created for individuals with diseases such as colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are three main output stomas, the most common being the colostomy or the ileostomy (faecal stomas) and the ileal conduit or urostomy (a urinary output stoma).
During the formation of a stoma, the abdominal muscles are divided so that the bowel can pass through; it is then attached to the abdominal wall. Healing of the wound mainly occurs within the community setting. When it comes to the reintroduction of activities, it can be difficult to know how and what to prescribe. This article outlines ways in which individuals with newly formed stomas may resume activities in a community setting, and the guidance and advice that community nurses should provide.
Initially after surgery, people with a newly formed stoma are advised to avoid strenuous activities such as lifting heavy items; however, walking is encouraged. A recent literature review described a lack of knowledge about stoma care within the acute setting of nurses who did not specialise in stoma care (Dunne et al, 2021). In this review, nurses who had been qualified for longer and had more exposure to stomas demonstrated greater confidence. It could be argued that in the community, there is more contact with people with a stoma than in the acute setting. However, without consistent exposure to stoma-related issues, confidence in providing advice may be limited.
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