Establishing sound routines

Establishing good stoma care routines

Learn how to live your everyday life with a minimum of nuisance by establishing sound routines for looking after your stoma.

Changing your urostomy pouch

Changing your urostomy pouch

Learn how and when to change your urostomy pouch. Changing your urostomy pouch
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Changing your urostomy pouch

The first few times you change your urostomy appliance, it may feel quite challenging. Make sure that the first couple of times you try emptying or changing the appliance, you do it somewhere you feel safe and comfortable.

Take your time – and remember that it's okay if you don't get it right every time at first. Even though it may take some time getting used to, it will eventually become easier to get into a routine.

Getting into a routine

You will find it helpful to establish a routine for changing your ostomy appliance – a good rule of thumb is to change your appliance at a time when your stoma is relatively inactive. Many people find that first thing in the morning is a good time to change their appliance.

How often does the pouch need draining?

Typically, urine will drip continuously into the pouch, and the pouch therefore needs to be drained several times a day. During the night, the urostomy pouch can be attached to a bedside drainage bag so you don't need to get up in the night to drain your pouch.

How often does the appliance need changing?

Frequency of changes depends on many things, however, you must always change your ostomy pouch if you feel itching or burning from the skin surrounding your stoma.

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Changing your ileostomy pouch

Changing your ileostomy pouch

Learn how and when to change a drainable/open ileostomy pouch. Changing your ileostomy pouch
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Changing your ileostomy pouch

The first few times you change your ileostomy appliance, it may feel quite challenging. Make sure that the first couple of times you try emptying or changing the appliance, you do it somewhere you feel safe and comfortable.

Take your time – and remember that it's okay if you don't get it right every time at first. Even though it may take some time getting used to, it will eventually become easier to get into a routine.

Getting into a routine

You will find it helpful to establish a routine for changing your ostomy appliance – a good rule of thumb is to change your appliance at a time when your stoma is relatively inactive. Many people find that first thing in the morning is a good time to change their appliance.

How often does the appliance need changing?

Frequency of changes depends on many things, however, you must always change your ostomy appliance if you feel itching or burning from the skin surrounding your stoma.

Because an ileostomy bypasses the large intestine (where water is drained from the faeces to turn it solid), the output will be liquid. That means the pouch will need to be emptied typically 4-6 times a day (including once at night).

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Changing your colostomy appliance

Changing your colostomy appliance

Learn how and when to change a closed colostomy appliance. Changing your colostomy appliance
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Changing your colostomy appliance

The first few times you change your colostomy appliance, it may feel quite challenging. Make sure that the first couple of times you try emptying or changing the appliance, you do it somewhere you feel safe and comfortable.

Take your time – and remember that it's okay if you don't get it right every time at first. Even though it may take some time getting used to, it will eventually become easier to get into a routine.

Getting into a routine

It will be very helpful if you can try to establish a routine for changing your pouch. A good rule of thumb, when using a closed pouch, is to change your pouch every time your ostomy has worked.

How often does the appliance need changing?

It's hard to put a number on how often you should change your appliance. However, you must always change your ostomy appliance if you feel itching or burning from the skin surrounding your stoma.

Output from a colostomy is not too different from normal bowel movement. The output is generally solid, and the appliance needs changing or emptying between one and three times a day.

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Be prepared

Be prepared

A short checklist of what you should have within short reach before changing or emptying your appliance. Be prepared
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Be prepared

Preparation is key when establishing sound routines in order to change and empty your pouch with as few problems as possible. Make sure that the following items are always within short reach, no matter where you go:

  • Dry wipes
    For cleaning your skin and around your stoma without causing unnecessary skin irritation.

  • Warm water
    The safest way to clean your skin and the area around your stoma is by using warm water without any additives (e.g. soap, oil etc.)

  • Disposable bag
    In order to safely dispose the used ostomy appliance.

  • New ostomy appliance
    Make sure to bring a couple with you in case something happens to the first one.

  • Curved scissors
    To cut the hole for your stoma, unless you have a pre-cut pouch which you don't need to cut to size.

  • Cutting Template
    In order to cut a hole that fits the ostomy as perfectly as possible, trace the size and shape of the stoma on the template/guide before you cut.

  • Other supporting products
    These could include various tapes, skin barriers, seals, paste, etc.
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Becoming confident with your stoma

Becoming confident with your stoma

Learn how your nurse can help you become confident in taking care of your stoma. Becoming confident with your stoma
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Becoming confident with your stoma

The first few days after ostomy surgery can be challenging. You have a pouch attached to your abdomen and lots of new things to learn. It's important to remember that it can take time to adjust, but that it will get easier.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

After your operation, your stoma care nurse will focus on helping you become confident in taking care of your stoma, emptying and changing your ostomy appliance, ordering your ostomy supplies, your rights and other practical aspects of living with an ostomy.

Becoming confident with a little help from your nurse

There will be a lot of new information to take in at once and it may even feel a bit overwhelming.

Take your time and ask all the questions you need, as many times as you need to. The more you ask and try things out, the better prepared you will be once you are back at home. It will also help to have a close relative or spouse with you for this training.

 

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How to care for your stoma

How to care for your stoma

Cleaning, showering and taking care of your stoma in the best possible way. How to care for your stoma
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How to care for your stoma

Getting a stoma is, in many ways, like getting a completely new body part - it does take a while to get used to something "new" being there. The swelling should already be reduced, but it could still be a little larger than normal.

A little blood is not unusual

The stoma is red in colour, which is completely normal. This is because it is a mucous membrane, just like the mucous membrane inside your mouth. There is no sensation in the stoma, so it is not at all painful to touch.

It could bleed a little because blood vessels are very close to the surface, but that's normal - just like the tissue inside your mouth bleeds easily.

Refrain from using soap when cleaning

You should obviously handle your stoma with care, but there is no need to be afraid of touching it. To clean it, simply use tap water and soft medical wipes or soft cotton wool.

The stoma and the skin around it doesn't need soap for cleansing, and in fact, soap could irritate it - as could baby wipes.

Taking a bath with a stoma

Showering and bathing will not damage neither the stoma itself nor your ostomy appliance, so you can shower with or without your pouch as you please. Just remember to keep soap, oils or creams etc. away from the stoma. 

Let your stoma and the surrounding skin dry carefully before you put a new appliance on – and that's actually all you need to do. You could use soft non-woven swabs to gently stop any output dripping while allowing your skin to dry.

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Learn how to avoid leakage and skin irritation while having a stoma

Know your body!

Learn how to avoid leakage and skin irritation by being aware of changes to your body. Know your body!
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Know your body!

Make it a habit to check your body profile (the shape of the area beneath and around your stoma) every time you change your appliance. It might help to use a mirror.
Knowing which body profile you have is key to monitoring change. There are three types of body profile:

Regular

The area around the stoma is more or less level with the abdomen, although your skin surface may be uneven.

Inward

The area around the stoma sinks into the abdomen, creating a dip.

Outward

The area around the stoma rises from the abdomen creating a peak.

Try the BodyCheck!

It is a good idea to occasionally use the online BodyCheck tool to see if your appliance is still the right match for your body profile. It’s quick and easy.

Take me to the BodyCheck

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Guide to healthy skin

Guide to healthy skin

Apply. Remove. Check. By following this procedure correctly, you will be able to keep the skin around your stoma healthy most of the time. Guide to healthy skin
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Guide to healthy skin

Maintaining healthy skin is often simply about checking you are applying and removing your stoma appliance correctly and with the right frequency. The length of time between changes will vary for each individual.

Using the following 'Apply, Remove, Check' process described here will help ensure you are in the right routine.

Apply

  • Make sure the skin is clean and dry before applying.
  • The adhesive baseplate should fit snugly around your stoma, and the hole must be cut to the right shape and size of your stoma - too big or too small could irritate the skin.
  • Supporting products, such as rings or seals, or a paste, can help you achieve a snug fit around your stoma and protect the skin.
  • Ensure that the adhesive has made full contact with the skin by pressing the adhesive during the application – begin in the area around the stoma, and then move outwards towards the edges.

Remove

  • Protect the skin around the stoma by gently removing the ostomy appliance.
  • Pull down the removal tab to loosen the adhesive baseplate from the skin. Accessories such as adhesive removers can help reduce any pulling of the skin.
  • Gently remove the adhesive baseplate by rolling it step by step downwards.
  • Apply light pressure to your skin with your other hand, to reduce the amount of pulling on your skin.

Note! Regardless of your appliance-change routine, you must change your appliance if you feel itching or burning.

Check

  • Wait a few minutes before examining the skin underneath the adhesive baseplate.
  • If necessary, use a mirror to check your skin.
  • The adhesive baseplate can be checked straight away.
  • If you experience one or more of the following signs, it may be because you need to change your appliance more often or use another appliance type:
    • Erosion of the adhesive plate.
    • Leakage on the baseplate or your skin
    • Irritated or discoloured skin
Experiencing skin irritation?

If you see any changes in the appearance and colour of the skin around your stoma (compared to the skin on the rest of your stomach), you can download our guide to healthy skin in order to detect what might be wrong and what can be done.

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