Friday, April 21, 2006

Emotional and Psychological Needs

Through research and my experience with ostomy patients I am able to provide information and emotional support to not only the ostomy patient but their families and love ones as well.

Despite the positive improvement made to an individuals life, most people still face ostomy surgery with fear and panic of the unknown. I hope to alleviate many of these fears through this site. Living with an ostomy does not have to rob an individual of a quality life.

Rehabilitation cannot be completed until all aspects of the patients well being (physical, emotional, sexual, social and psychological) have been addressed and resolved.

In a healthcare environment the clinicians have little time to obtain a secure seal on an ostomy pouching system and teach self-care “survival skills” let alone consider a patients emotional and psychological needs. When, then, are these crucial needs being addressed? Who is the appropriate person to mitigate these issues?

The relationship between the caregiver and patient is an exceedingly valuable tool that, when leveraged appropriately can have a powerful, positive effect on the psychological outcome of ostomy surgery. The caregiver has to earn the trust and learn what is happening in the life and mind of the person wearing the pouching system to contribute to his or her mental well being.

Unfortunately a patients emotional and psychogical needs are very seldom made an issue. Lingering depression after ostomy surgery can occur and must be dealt with. Some patients may be completely unwilling to discuss personal concerns. Despite the obstacles, however, this crucial aspect of ostomy rehabilitation cannot be overlooked. Have on hand other resources such as online forums who has lived or is living with an ostomy. There is nothing like talking to someone who has personally gone through this sort of procedure and is leading a healthy, productive, happy life.

Ostomy Straight Facts

Colostomy: A surgically created opening in the abdominal wall through which digested food passes.

Temporary colostomy: May be required to give a portion of the bowel a chance to rest and heal. When healing has occurred, the colostomy can be reversed and normal bowel function restored.

Reasons for surgery: Cancer, diverticulitis, imperforate anus, Hirschsprung's disease, trauma.

Living with a colostomy: Work: With the possible exception of jobs requiring very heavy lifting, a colostomy should not interfere with work. People with colostomies are successful business people, teachers, carpenters, welders, etc.Sex and social life: Physically, the creation of a colostomy usually does not affect sexual function. If there is a problem, it is almost always related to the removal of the rectum. The colostomy itself should not interfere with normal sexual activity or pregnancy. It does not prevent one from dating, marriage or having children.Clothing: Usually one is able to wear the same clothing as before surgery including swimwear.Sports and activities: With a securely attached pouch one can swim, camp out, play baseball and participate in practically all types of sports. Caution is advised in heavy body contact sports. Travel is not restricted in any way. Bathing and showering may be done with or without the pouch in place.Diet: Usually there are no dietary restrictions and foods can be enjoyed as before.

Resources available: The physician and medical professionals are the first source of help. Specially trained nurses called Wound, Ostomy Continence Nurses (WOCN) are available for consultation in most major medical centers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Ostomy (Learning to Cope)

The Web Definition: (Ostomy)
An operation to create an opening (a stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside.

Adapting to life after colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy

There is so much to be said for all those people out there that are enduring the change in their lives and learning to cope with ostomies. It is not something that you can easily prepare yourself for, mentally or physically.
One of the first things I want to say is if you have a partner whether it be your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife or your significant other who has gone through this change, you must remember that this is not about you. It is about your partner. A lot of times you want to help and be there for that person that has the ostomy but he or she does not want you there, you become offended and start feeling like you are the injured party. You start thinking "I care for this person and I want to be there. I don't care what she or he says....I'm going to do what is needed whether they want me to or not. Please remember this is not about you. This is major surgery so be well informed and become familiar with the emotional and physical outcome.

I am a Certified PSW and did my clinical in London. A great number of my patients were trying to recover from ostomy surgery, emotionally and physically. Because of my experience with my patients and what they had taught me has given me more of an insight of what really is happening in the minds of people living with an ostomy.

It takes time to become comfortable with an ostomy. Many questions run through your mind as you worry about your first ventures into the world outside your home. Can you go back to work? Can you ride your bike? Will everyone figure out you have an ostomy, or can you keep it a secret? Your recovery from surgery is 6 weeks or more but the recovery time of your mental state can be longer. Talking with someone who is or has been there will help you a great deal.
There is a forum which I highly recommend for information and to talk to someone who has already lived or is living in your shoes.