Caring For Your Stoma A Patient Guide

Before changing your appliance make sure everything you need is ready and at hand. You will need:

• A clean appliance with the correct size aperture already cut

• Any accessories that have been recommended

• Disposal bag for rubbish and dirty appliance

• Flannel or dry wipes

• Scissors if required

Make sure that you are comfortable in the bathroom and will not be disturbed. Make sure that the bathroom is of the correct heat and if necessary that you have a chair or stool to sit on.

• Secure clothing out of the way. Rather than tucking under the chin, use clothes pegs to hold clothing up.

• Remove old appliance carefully, top to bottom, easing the adhesive away from the skin. It may be useful to stand on some newspaper or plastic if you are worried about spills.

• Wipe any excess faecal matter away with toilet paper, then wash the stoma and area around the stoma with soap and water.

• After cleaning thoroughly, using a mirror if need be to see all areas, dry with a dry wipe or soft towel.

• If any skin protection has been prescribed apply to clean, dry skin and allow to dry for a few seconds. Do not use creams that have not been prescribed.

• Remove the backing paper from the appliance and position over the stoma, if necessary using a mirror to ensure correct placement.

Disposing of the appliance

• Cut the colostomy appliance at the bottom and empty contents down the toilet. Hold the appliance at the top either by hand or with a peg and hold under the flush of the toilet. This is adequate to rinse out the appliance.

• Place soiled appliance and dirty wipes in disposal bag and secure, then place in dustbin.

• Wash hands and restock appliance carrier.

• Try to find a routine that suits you best.

• Make sure that you have adequate appliances and do not forget that at times of public holidays you may need to order earlier than you would normally.

• If you have just been discharged from hospital your stoma may still be changing in size; you should measure the stoma weekly with a stoma guide and change the template accordingly.

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