“Home Health Care Consultants | When Is Colostomy Necessary?” focuses on what’s a colostomy. It also explains when someone will need to have the procedure done.
One other important area to look at is how to care for someone with a colostomy bag. And, what are the steps in applying and removing it. This is important information if you’re doing it for yourself.
It’s equally important if you’re a caregiver and need to do this for someone else. A nurse will explain how to do it. However, you may need a reminder and practice to get it right.
Health Care Needs | What Is a Colostomy?
A colostomy is a surgical procedure on the colon. This diverts it from passing through the rectum and emptying through the anus. The stoma is the opening made in the abdomen wall to accommodate the colon.
The colon comes in three sections: ascending, transverse, and descending. And, any section may be cut depending on the reason it needs to be done.
As such, that will also determine the location of the stoma in the abdomen. It could be on the left side, center, or right side. Additionally, it could be higher up or lower. Again, it depends on certain factors.
A colostomy bag or pouch will have to be attached to the end of the colon at the stoma to collect fecal matter.
Another factor to take into consideration is whether it’s temporary or permanent. We’ll look at the reasons a colostomy is done. Sometimes it’s due to a life threatening situation.
Who Needs it? | A Question of Health.
Is it a matter of life or death? Or a case of prevention rather than a cure later on? Furthermore, how long will this be required? The answer comes down to a question of health.
There are some illnesses with serious consequences involving the colon. Any of these cases may require an individual to get a colostomy. Examples include diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, and cancer.
In these cases, there has to be an alternative way to remove fecal matter from the body. A colostomy will divert it from passing through the rectum and anus.
Here’s a brief definition of the diseases mentioned above:
Diverticulitis: The colon sometimes form diverticula or pouches along its inner walls. These cause diverticulitis when they become inflamed or infected. It’s called diverticulosis in the initial stage without outward symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): This disease comes with constipation, diarrhea, or both. And, they’re all different types requiring different treatments. There’s also chronic pain and discomfort.
Crohn’s Disease: It can affect any part of the entire intestinal tract. However, it’s common in the small or large intestine.
Bowel Cancer: This type of cancer starts in either the bowel, colon, or rectum.
The Health Care Aide? | Or the Patient?
Who will be carrying out caring for the colostomy? The patient could do it or a health care aide in the home. It’s relatively easy to manage although it will take time getting used to it.
A patient who doesn’t have other severe health issues will find they can do it. However, an elderly person with dementia would find it confusion. Most of all, they may not understand what’s happening to them.
For example, Rebecca is a certified nursing assistant. She’s assigned to Phyllis for a few hours each week. Phyllis has dementia, and developed diverticulitis recently.
She came back from the hospital after doing a colostomy procedure. A nurse made a home care visit to show Rebecca how to care for Phyllis’ colostomy.
Rebecca observed and took notes. In addition, she studied the handbook with diagrams the nurse left. It was a bit awkward the first couple of times she did it on her own. Thereafter, she became an expert.
Phyllis wouldn’t have been able to do this by herself. Furthermore, she was dependent on her aides for all activities of daily living (ADLs).
Apply and Remove the Colostomy Bag | Before and After
There are different types and variations of colostomy appliances. Therefore, you will need to know the best way to care for your colostomy. One type has two main parts, the bag and a separate skin barrier or wafer.
Another type is an all-in-one appliance. It requires changing the entire bag with the attached skin barrier each time. Other variations include whether it’s a closed-end or drainable type with a clip for closure.
- Gather everything you will need before starting the process of applying the bag.
- Clean the skin around the stoma first. Use wipes followed by a moist skin prep gauze and allow it to dry.
- Attach the skin barrier if it’s separate from the bag. Or attach the all-in-one by carefully placing it over the stoma. You may need to cut out the opening for the stoma if it’s not precut.
- Next, attach the separate bag onto the wafer. Ensure it fits firmly in place to prevent leaks.
- Position it in a way that will be comfortable against the body and unnoticed under clothing.
- Gather everything you will need before starting.
- Carefully remove the colostomy bag. Use a moist skin prep to release the barrier from the skin. Do this with each change of the all-in-one unit. Otherwise, change the wafer for the two-piece unit every two to three days.
- Clean around the stoma using wipes and skin prep.
- Empty and wash the reusable bag. Or discard the disposable one.
Supplies: These include skin prep, gauze, scissors, wipes, paper towel, skin barrier (wafer), colostomy bag, and trash bag.
Note: It’s best to use a folded paper towel to place over the stoma when removing the bag. This will prevent accidental spills before replacing the bag.
Summary | Complications of the Bowels
A colostomy is a way to divert feces away from the anus. It’s convenient, and most people get used to it over time.
Naturally, there’ll be inconveniences and accidents occasionally. However, those are less complicated than the reason for the colostomy in the first place.
Important things to remember:
- Ensure the opening in the wafer is close to the stoma. This will eliminate skin break down from the contents of the colon.
- Also, ensure it’s sealed properly on the skin to prevent leakage.
- Empty the bag when it’s one-third to one-half full. This will also help to prevent accidents and visibility through clothing.
- Change the unattached wafer every two to three days.
- Finally, have enough appliances and supplies on hand. That’s a good way to maintain your colostomy health. It will also save you from frustration and embarrassment.
Disposable bags cost more than reusable ones. But, are the preferred types because of the convenience they offer. It’s easier to toss rather than empty and wash each time there’s a change.
Most importantly, it’s a personal choice. Individuals or family members decide what they can afford or endure. Most caregivers prefer the easier task. It’s not always a pleasant one to handle. And that’s understandable.
I hope this article, “Home Health Care Consultants | When Is Colostomy Necessary?” has been helpful in some way. Please let me know if you can relate to this subject.
Are you a caregiver with experience in this area? Or do you have a colostomy? Furthermore, you may want to share your personal story. We would like to hear from you as your story may help someone else.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to assist you.
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