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Stoma care: an update

02 April 2024
Volume 29 · Issue 4


Each year an estimated 13 500 stoma surgeries are carried out in the UK (Kettle, 2019). Stoma surgery may involve the formation of a colostomy or an ileostomy. The person with a stoma may require help and support from the community nurse. This article aims to update readers on the indications for colostomy and ileostomy surgery and to enable them to support ostomates to reduce the risks of complications.

The term ‘stoma’ is used to describe an opening on the surface of the abdomen which has been surgically created to divert the flow of faeces or urine. People who have had stoma surgery are sometimes known as ‘ostomates’ (Colostomy UK, 2024).

There are around 177 000 people in the UK with a stoma (Kettle, 2019). It is estimated that one in 335 adults has a stoma (NHS Inform, 2024a). Stomas are created because of a number of conditions that affect the small and large intestine. In the UK around 6400 permanent colostomies are created each year (NHS Inform, 2024a). Ileostomies are more common and around 9000 are created annually in England (NHS Inform, 2024b).

The person who has a stoma may require help and support from the community nurse upon discharge from hospital for months, or even years to come. The community nurses needs to have a good understanding of the anatomy and physiology, its indications and common complications.

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