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Stoma care and diet in the community

02 April 2024
Volume 29 · Issue 4


Community nurses are often the common link with people in the community with healthcare services. Community nurses are involved in the care of people living with a temporary or permanent stoma and might be asked specialist questions of which they may feel uncertain of appropriate responses. This article describes some basic facts about stoma as well as specialist dietary considerations; which can be used to improve symptoms such as constipation as well as how to prevent issues such as a food bolus obstruction. An increased understanding of stoma-related dietary needs among community nurses will likely improve care outcomes, as they will feel more equipped to offer tailored guidance and support.

There are over 205 000 people in the UK living in the community with a stoma. There are potential issues with body image that are encountered when living with a stoma (Porrett, 2022). Other issues relate to learning to live with a stoma; for example, developing the practical skills necessary to care for one's stoma appliance (Jin et al, 2021). This is important as it is reported that 80% of people living with a stoma will develop some form of peristomal complication within the first couple of years (LeBlanc et al, 2019), which can negatively affect quality of life (Rolls et al, 2022). The physical care of the appliance and how to change it, is learnt in hospital; however, learning to adapt dietary intake takes longer as most people do not eat a full diet when they are discharged home. It is important for community nurses to consider diet and the stoma as this is often a complex situation in which patients want advice. Unfortunately, research is limited in the area and advice provided by healthcare professionals can be contradictory, especially for the care of high output stomas. This article explores the types of diet people with stomas should consider adopting, with the aim to increase understanding and standardisation of information provided.

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