Strategies for optimal bowel management with stoma or TAI
Strategies for optimal bowel management with stoma or TAI
A variety of solutions can help when the intestines don’t work properly: a stoma is an artificial opening designed to treat disease, relieve symptoms and make life easier. Transanal irrigation (TAI) is another well-documented technique that helps remediate fecal incontinence and constipation. Medical device manufacturers and home care experts help find the best solution to every problem.
An ostomy is a surgery that makes an artificial opening in the abdomen called a stoma. There are many reasons why patients may need a stoma which include inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or a bowel obstruction caused by an accident. Although a stoma bag improves the quality of life and provides pain relief and comfort, sufferers are usually worried at first. Home health experts are available to help break the stigma around having a stoma and address any questions and concerns.
An ostopy should not be a hindrance in everyday life – on the contrary, sometimes it can even be an improvement in life circumstances.
Managing stoma concerns
Even though a stoma improves the quality of life for ostomy patients, adjusting to life with an ostomy pouch may take some time. Patients have many unanswered questions and wonder whether they can still go swimming while wearing the system and how people in their immediate surroundings will react to the new situation.
Home health experts like PubliCare, one of the leading home care companies in Germany, are available to answer any questions as comprehensively as possible. They are stoma care specialists who offer counseling, answer frequently asked questions, and provide product advice. The company’s services include home visits to assist patients with caring, organizing and readjusting to their new situation – after all, wearing a stoma bag is a life-changing event. But it doesn't always have to be a home visit: in the time of coronavirus, video calls are a safe and suitable alternative. Customers can use the live chat option to ask urgent questions.
The specialists also address concerns that go beyond mere stoma care instructions and focus on personal issues and the way this impacts those close to the patient. One common question is whether people notice the stoma bag under clothing? The short answer is no. Needless to say, loose-fitting clothes are a more comfortable option if you wear an ostomy pouch – making the stoma bag inconspicuous and discreet. PubliCare also addresses frequently asked questions pertaining to sexual activity. All told, patients can ask any question, nothing is considered taboo. The more people know, the more they overcome feelings of insecurity and rebuild self-confidence.
Care and counselling in the patient's own home is part of PubliCare's therapy measures.
Good stoma skin care is paramount
Once the most pressing questions have been answered, patients must find the right care products. Coloplast develops stoma wound and skin care products that make life easier for ostomy wearers. While you may think that you only need the stoma pouch, ostomy care actually requires additional products and supplies. Besides the ostomy bag and skin barrier rings, patients also need creams and adhesive material to protect the sensitive skin around the stoma. The ostomy bag is securely attached to the skin barrier around the stoma opening, and frequent removal of the ostomy skin barrier can lead to skin irritation at the respective site.
Wipes can help to gently remove sticky adhesive residues left on the skin. The residues resemble the sticky deposit from bandages once you try to remove them. However, while a bandage is only temporary, the skin around the stoma is constantly stressed. The right care products can help to reduce skin irritations and protect the skin from possible contamination.
To minimize the risk of contamination, Coloplast also provides a skin paste for skin fold management, allowing the baseplate of the ostomy bag to securely fit to the skin. Elastic barrier strips that follow the body contours are also a great alternative since they create a seal between the stoma and barrier and protect against leakage.
Since children are often affected by bowel dysfunction, transanal irrigation (TAI) with Navina is possible from the age of three.
Healthy bowel management improves child health
Adults can understand and manage digestive problems of their own volition, but what about young children? How do you talk to children about a subject that is not naturally on their radar?
Brigitte Schuster, regional manager at Wellspect, says common stomach and intestinal problems in children are often not caused by illness. Nonetheless, children need to learn about healthy bowel management to have a better quality of life. For many, transanal irrigation (TAI) is a great solution to empty their bowels effectively and securely. But how do you teach a child to use TAI when "regular" toilet training already takes such a long time? Above all, it is essential to meet the children at their ability level, explains Schuster. "We explain the therapies in age-appropriate language. It is important that children accept the treatment option and are motivated to ensure success and improve the child’s health."
For Schuster, at least one parent must be the primary attachment figure because TAI has to be integrated into daily life. Schuster takes three months to motivate and commit parent and child to perform the procedure regularly. This time is necessary to stabilize the bowels, after which one begins to see first successes. The system ultimately makes life easier for families and allows the child to be a child again. "Working with children and their parents is very special to me and makes my job so meaningful," says Schuster.
Kyra Molinari (Translated by Elena O'Meara) REHACARE.com