When a person undergoes an ostomy surgery they experience the anxiety and distress associated with a sudden and significant alteration in elimination function and self-image. Frequently, the person with a new ostomy feels alone when trying to adapt to the alteration in body habits and lifestyle. A patient support group is one strategy for easing the anxiety and sense of isolation associated with an ostomy.
Because of the current healthcare system, patients with ostomies are often discharged from the hospital earlier than ever, often before they are physically or psychologically ready to learn to care for the ostomy, or before the skills can be mastered through adequate practice.
The support group offers the opportunity to speak with a person with a wider range of experience with an ostomy. Advice, information and emotional support can be gained from people who have gone through a similar experience, and to improve their skills in managing the ostomy. Because the information and support comes from someone who has “lived through the experience,” it may be more trusted than that provided by a health professional.
Generally, Ostomy Support Group meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the physical therapy conference room. If you have an ostomy or a family member with an ostomy, whether recent or not and would be interested in participating in a support group, there will be a meeting on Thursday, February 8. For questions or more information, contact Karen Cole, RN, BSN, CWOCN, CDE at 315-713-5181.