Photo: Stoma nurses Vanessa Stevenson and Samantha Miller
Southport Nurses Support for stoma patients
Nurses in Southport want to raise awareness of a common, yet rarely talked about condition that affects thousands of people across the country.
Around 80,000 people in the UK have stomas of various types.
A stoma is an artificial opening on the abdomen created to divert the body’s waste into a disposable pouch.
More than 500 people in north Sefton wear a stoma pouch. Specialist nurses offer practical and psychological support to these patients.
Nurses Samantha Miller and Vanessa Stevenson are based at Southport’s Stoma Clinic in Poulton Road. Fellow stoma nurse Sharon Dearnly Davidson cares for patients in West Lancashire.
Sam said: “We offer support, reassurance and practical information to anyone who may be about to have a stoma. People of all ages and backgrounds may have to use a stoma at some point in their lives.
“Predominantly most of our patients are people in their 50s and 60s who have had bowel cancer but we also care for teenagers and younger adults too.
“We provide care to those who are new to living with a stoma and also continual support to those who will live with a stoma for the rest of their lives.
A recent annual open day for stoma patients took place in Southport where latest products and expert advice was available.
During the event patients gave excellent feedback about the care they receive:
Peter Wood, 78 from Ainsdale, has been using a stoma for the last three years. He said: “The care I have received has been brilliant and I thank Sam and the NHS for helping me.”
Lorraine McGlashon, 58 from Hightown has been using a stoma since January: “The stoma has given me a new lease of life. I go swimming every day. The stoma nurses have been wonderful to me and are always there to offer support. It’s important to be in charge of your stoma rather than let the stoma be in charge of you.”
Stoma nurses offer as much psychological support as practical support.
Sam added: “We have a wide range of patients from babies to older people who may have inflammatory bowel disease or bowel cancer.
“We work with patients to give them confidence to do the day-to-day things that most people take for granted. Our aim is to support patients to live full independent lives.
“The initial weeks of having a stoma are often the hardest but with ongoing support most people learn to adapt their lifestyle.”
The first surgical stomas were created in the early 18th century. Stoma products have evolved and improved greatly over the years.
More information about stoma care is available here: http://www.colostomyassociation.org.uk
Photo: Stoma nurse Sam with patients and visitors to a recent stoma open day.
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