The Stoma Care Nurse (Stomal Therapist)
The Stoma Care Nurse is a senior registered nurse who has undertaken a special course in the care of people with stomas. Most of the larger hospitals have a stoma care nurse; many of the smaller hospitals employ a nurse in a part-time dual position.
You can contact your stoma nurse and also get details of outpatient clinic times through the hospital or community nursing service. It may be necessary to make an appointment for a consultation, but a phone call may be all that is needed to get an answer to that query you have.
A stoma nurse is able to help with teaching you all aspects of stoma care and is there to ensure that you are using the appliance that best suits you. Stoma nurses will arrange for ongoing supplies, and are there if you have any problems with the management of your stoma. A surgeon may request the stoma care nurse to site the stoma prior to surgery; consideration is given to the selection of a flat area of the abdominal wall, identification of skin folds, creases, scars and other irregularities which will be avoided to ensure the optimal position for the stoma. Advice may be given to the patient re weight gain or loss, if this is indicated for successful appliance management.
If at some time you consider changing to a different appliance, this should always be done in consultation with your stoma nurse.
It is generally advised that ostomates are checked annually to ensure that all is well and that the most suitable appliance is being used.