As stomal therapy nurse we deal mainly with patients who have rectal cancer or patients who have inflammatory bowel conditions such as UC or Crohn’s.
The majority of patients with rectal cancer who undergo surgical resection will have a stoma formed- either as a temporary diversion or, less commonly nowadays, a permanent diversion. These patients are often asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis and the cancer diagnosis can come as shock.
The other cohort of patients we manage are those with inflammatory bowel conditions particularly UC or Crohn’s. These patients are often at the end of a long medically managed journey, which has now failed. The majority of these patients have been suffering a poor quality of life due to their bowel condition for months to years and finally surgery resulting in either a temporary or permanent stoma is the last and only resort.
Having a stoma is life changing – not only has the patient been burdened with a cancer diagnosis or a failed medically managed inflammatory bowel condition, and all that goes along with these, but to then be told they will have a stoma can be devastating.
As Stomal therapy nurses we educate, counsel and site our patients pre- operatively and continue education post operatively. We order and obtain stoma supplies for discharge, trouble shoot any issues and most importantly support our patients emotionally throughout their journey.
This talk will include the role of the stomal therapy nurse and some of the common and not so common issues our patients have and solutions to these issues.