An ileostomy is a very common surgical procedure, and thus even the complications related to the procedure are common.
This means as a home physician, it will be best if you don’t worry, but instead keep yourself updated.
This article is all about taking care of patients living with an ileostomy. Since hospital stays are now shortened, educating patients concerning the self-care of ostomies has been shifted to the home setting.
Taking care of ostomies
For a home clinician, it is crucial to know all the aspects of ileostomy care. Also, to learn more, you can always visit Webop (an e-learning platform specially designed to help surgeons, medical practitioners, and medical students).
Now, firstly as someone who will be taking care of an ostomy patient, be prepared to receive a variety of unusual emotional, social, and physical reactions from the patient.
This is because living with an ostomy is life-changing. Since people see it as a new hope, while for some it is something that proves they are ill and weak.
Next, teach patients about how they can change the pouching system in a bathroom using a mirror. Ask them to first gather all the necessary supplies. Using a soft paper towel, or a disposable washcloth with warm water they can cleanse their skin.
Also, advise them to clean the pouch first thing in the morning before taking breakfast. This will ensure no stool is passing while changing the pouch.
Further, educate them about their dietary challenges. After all, their ileostomy will get affected by what they eat. In the beginning, it is best to avoid raw fruits and veggies. Eventually, they can start taking cooked vegetables.
It is best if they introduce one new food at a time to check what good items cause gas, odor, and looser stool. As far as medication is concerned, patients with ostomy should never take laxatives.
Along with food, ostomy patients even need to monitor their liquid intake. After all, as they are passing secretions continuously, they get dehydrated very quickly.
Keeping this in mind, it is best to educate patients about symptoms and signs of dehydration. Patients with ileostomy must drink 2L of liquid every day.
This intake should be increased when they are outdoors in the sun and heat.
Soon after being discharged from the hospital, the patient may pass watery loose stool. This is normal. However, if this continues for a prolonged period, they can use antimotility drugs like Loperamide.
It is a common medication and is available over the counter.
Well, there you go. Now that you know and understand how to care for a patient with ileostomy, surely you will be able to guide them well.
Nevertheless, if the patient is unable to take care of the ostomy by themselves, it is better to refer them to a Wound Ostomy Continence nurse (Ostomy Nurse).
Ostomy nurses are specially trained to take care of patients with ileostomy and hence can provide the needed care and attention. Also, it is crucial to always look for signs and symptoms of early complications.
The sooner you will find them the better treatment you can expect for the patient.