If you've been fitted with an ostomy pouch, you need to understand how to take care of it properly. With any kind of medical equipment like this, proper care is essential for your health and recovery. It's also key to preventing infection and many other complications. Don't let the care process overwhelm you. Here are a few tips that will help you to manage the ostomy pouch care.
Empty The Pouch Properly
Don't let the pouch get more than about a third full, because it may get too heavy otherwise. A heavy ostomy pouch will be harder to empty, and you risk having a spill. Emptying it more often helps to minimize this risk.
If you need to rinse the pouch, it's best to disconnect it first. Rinsing it while it's still connected can put you at risk of breaking the skin barrier seal if it gets wet. If, for some reason, you need to rinse the bag and cannot disconnect it, take care to keep the water away from the skin barrier. The best way to do this is to only put water in the lower half of the pouch. Then, squeeze the top of the pouch closed with one hand while you swish the water around inside. This will keep the water far from the stoma, which protects the integrity of the skin barrier's seal.
Plan Your Changes Carefully
You should plan to change the pouch every couple of days, or more often if your doctor recommends it due to a weakened immune system. The more prone you are to infections, the more often you'll need to change it so that you don't risk any bacteria exposure.
Always do your pouch changes in the bathroom. That way, you'll have easy access to fresh running water, toiletries, a counter surface, and a wastebasket. Make sure the counters are clean and disinfected first so you don't risk any contamination.
Prepare Your Supplies Correctly
When it comes to connecting the tubing, you need to protect your skin from irritation. The best way to do this is is by treating the area with a barrier wipe. This forms a protective film that keeps your skin from being directly exposed to the adhesive.
If you have any irritation in your skin around the area, your doctor may suggest that you apply powder to soothe it. If so, make sure you wipe away any excess powder from your skin before you treat it with the barrier wipe.
When you cut the skin barrier product, make sure it's cut so that it's slightly larger in diameter than the actual stoma. That way, there's space for the stoma to expand as needed when you pass any waste. You can also order pre-cut barriers, just make sure you order a size that's larger than your stoma.
If you apply any paste to the tube, make sure to put a strip of the paste around the opening. Let it sit for a few minutes before you apply it. This resting period is important, because it allows the alcohol in the paste to evaporate before you apply it.
Deal With Problems Carefully
One common problem with ostomy bags is the accumulation of gas. Make sure you're attentive to this so that you don't have excess gas in the pouch. Burp the pouch when gas accumulates so that it's flat. This prevents the pouch from bursting. It's important to have your doctor show you the proper way to burp the pouch so that you don't damage it. Don't ever poke a hole in it, because this will allow odors to pass, and it may actually lead to leaks.
Talk to whoever provides your medical supplies, someone like Medi-Rents & Sales Inc, for more information.