The Western Health Stomal Therapy department is a specialised nursing service. It treats and counsels people before and after surgery that results in a temporary or permanent stoma. A stoma is a surgically created opening within the body surface that helps with the drainage of body products that would normally be removed from the body by the bowel or bladder. Rehabilitation also plays a major role in this service.
The Stomal Therapy department is managed by a Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) who is a Division 1 Registered Nurse and who has successfully completed an accredited postgraduate course in Stomal Therapy Nursing. The CNC works closely with the surgeons.
The CNC is also fully credentialed by the Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses.
People who have a stoma have unique physical and psychological needs. They may be experiencing the effects of cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease or other conditions such as diverticulitis. Having a stoma may increase their vulnerability. This is why early intervention by the Stomal Therapy CNC is so important.
When surgery is planned (elective) the person about to have surgery is an appointment made via the Pre-Admission Clinic with the CNC. The CNC talks about the many aspects of life with a stoma and determines the best position for the stoma. About half of the 200 people that the CNC sees every year will need a stoma.
Of these 100 people about 50 will have their stomas reversed and 50 will have a permanent stoma. The type of surgery will determine whether the stoma is permanent or temporary, along with other medical factors.
When surgery is an emergency (for example the result of a perforated or obstructed bowel) then the first Stomal Therapy intervention may not be until after the surgery. The Stomal Therapy CNC deals with all stoma-related issues using a compassionate and holistic approach.
Education on how to look after your stoma
Diet and fluid management
High output stomas
Stoma related wound care
Ostomy association membership (to access supplies)
Parastomal hernia prevention and management
Peristomal skin care
Counselling (including sexuality)
Diana HayesStomal Therapist