Today there is a bewildering supply of stoma appliances available on prescription for the GP to prescribe and the patient to try, and yet most GPs will have little knowledge of what to prescribe for the patient with a new stoma. In addition the community nurse may be as confused about what to advise the patient to use if she has not been actively involved in stoma care for some time. Modern stoma appliances are continuously evolving and changing, and an appliance that the community nurse experienced on a patient last year may not be being frequently used the following year. Hospital specialist stoma care nurses are well placed to know what products are available and what is best suited for the patient at the time of discharge (Black, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997). Factors to be considered when deciding on a suitable appliance for a patient are shown in the second box.
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