Purpose: To describe the positive impact a support group, WOC nursing education, and continued support can have on an ostomate’s quality of life.
Ostomy surgery is a life-altering event often affecting body image and mental health in addition to the obvious physical health obstacles. Not only do ostomies affect the life of the ostomate, but also that of their families and their significant others. Continued effort to decrease healthcare costs through decreased post-operative length of stay significantly limits the time available for ostomy education by a WOC nurse for new ostomates. Additionally, once discharged home, there are significantly decreased opportunities for continued support and education within the community as the ostomates navigate their new life with an ostomy.
Ostomates need proper education, support, and encouragement. With these resources, ostomates can manage their self-care independently and lead productive lives.
Strategy and implementation: In 2019, at a level-one hospital trauma center meeting room a support group was launched. Over 40 people attended the meeting. Due to the pandemic, for the last 3.5 years the group has continued to meet via zoom for educational and supportive discussions. There have also been several outdoor family-friendly social activities each year to help ostomates develop a community. Attendance to the meetings and events continues to increase.
Outcomes: This ostomate and WOC nurse lead support group provides the support, education, and skills necessary to increase independence in ostomy self-care. Ostomates were able to seek and share advice and experiences in a nurturing environment. In addition, ostomates were able to build a community with whom they can work together to problem solve, provide support, maintain independence, and share experiences of life as an ostomate.
After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.