Whether patients have a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, they will want to get their lives back to normal as soon as possible after surgery. Getting used to living with a stoma, however, takes time and the role of the Stoma Care Nurse is to provide information, practical advice, support (both physically and psychologically) to guide patients through this period. The service covers all stoma patients living in West Essex, and the surrounding district, including hospitals, care homes and hospices.
THE CARE PATHWAY
Where possible, the aim of the service is to introduce myself to patients prior to their surgery to provide support, education and adequate pre-operative preparation. Patients will receive literature, DVD, and have the opportunity to wear a pouch and take a look at other stoma care products. This can help patients prepare for the new situation they will be faced with.
Whilst in hospital my aim is to teach the practical management of the stoma. I therefore visit patients on the wards and, together with the ward staff, teach them or their carer how to manage the stoma.
On discharge, I aim to visit patients at home within the first two weeks to ensure they are managing their stoma proficiently. At this visit I can discuss any worries or concerns they may have, review the appliances/accessories they are using and order supplies as required.
Following the home visit, patients will be given an appointment to attend my Stoma Out-Patient clinic for continued care.
My nurse-led stoma clinics are by prior arrangement only and patients should telephone the Stoma Department directly for an appointment. It is not necessary to have a GP referral letter. Clinics are held on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow.
LOCAL EVENTS AND STOMA SUPPORT GROUP
There are many people living in the Harlow and District area who have a stoma and ‘Connect’ is a local support group, which I have specifically set-up with the help of a number of these patients. Connect gives them, and others like them, the chance to offer each other practical advice and support. The group regularly holds coffee mornings with guest speakers, as well as organising social events. Partners are also welcome because it is recognised that having a stoma not only affects the patient but their families/carers as well.
With regards to local events, I organise an annual Open Day, which is attended by representatives from most of the appliance manufacturing companies. This gives patients the opportunity to try different appliances, clothing and accessories. Invitations are sent directly to patients from the Stoma Office.
Toni Johnson, Colorectal Nurse heads up the Nurse Led follow up clinics for colorectal cancer. These clinics are held on the following days:
Tuesday PM - PAH Outpatients Department
Friday AM - SMH Outpatients Department
Colorectal & Stoma Care Office
The Princess Alexandra Hospital
Tel: 01279 827182
Fax No. 01279 827227