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Creating WOC Interventions in Response to Age-Related Barriers to Ostomy Independence and Self-Care

Topic: The world’s aging population has many issues that the healthcare community needs to address. There are many predictors of these age-related challenges. Providing a pathway for senior ostomates to maintain ostomy self-care and independence is a desirable goal. Issues like declining recall, vision, mobility and dexterity, neuropathy, and dementia are age-related changes that may affect ostomy self-care. WOC nurses care for ostomy patients throughout the lifespan and in multiple care settings. Interventions are well known, taught, and tested in the core curriculum and board exams. By investigating the lived experience of our aging ostomates in the community, perhaps there are other WOC interventions that can be developed and standardized to aid in ostomy independence in this patient population. With the disturbing trend of patients with ostomies being banned from long-term care settings (assisted living, group homes, etc.), WOC interventions that improve ostomy self-care and independence can be developed and standardized.

Purpose: By identifying the most common age-related barriers in our aging ostomates, pathways for more targeted WOC interventions for ostomy self-care in this population will be possible. Creating these pathways will be a process improvement to current WOC teaching in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Process: An interview tool was created for WOC nurses for telephone interviews with ostomy patients from two suburban hospital-based outpatient ostomy clinics. Questions were developed that encouraged open-ended responses and demographic information. Responses are entered into a Word document and sorted by age. Copying responses per age range and placing into Microsoft Word’s word cloud generator, the most frequent responses will be revealed.

Outcomes: Effective pathways for aging ostomates to maintain their independence and self-care will positively impact their quality of life.