Caring for Your Loved One’s Ostomy

How to Approach Your Elderly’s Ostomy Care

What is an ostomy?
If a portion of your intestine doesn’t work properly, a surgeon can make an opening – called an ostomy – in your midsection and bring a part of your intestine to the skin’s surface. An ostomy allows waste to leave your body through the part of your intestine at the ostomy opening, called the stoma.

With an ostomy, you cannot control when waste or gas leaves your body, since there is no muscle around the stoma. Waste automatically goes from the stoma into a medical-grade plastic bag surrounding the stoma. The ostomy bag cannot be seen when wearing clothes and it blocks any odor.

Ostomy care
Proper care can make living with a stoma easier and prevent skin irritation. Basic ostomy care at home includes:

  • Empty and replace the ostomy bag as often as your care team recommends.
  • Follow all instructions given by the care team.
  • Take medicines exactly as prescribed.
  • If skin under the pouch is red, irritated, or itchy, the skin needs to be treated with the following steps: 
    • Gently remove the ostomy bag.
    • Clean the skin gently with warm water.
    • Pat the skin dry.
    • Sprinkle ostomy powder on the affected area (gently wiping off any excess powder).
    • Reattach or replace the pouch.
  • Schedule and go to all appointments
  • Call your doctor or nurse if you experience problems.

Care for Your Elderly’s Ostomy
If you have an elderly loved one with an ostomy, assistance with care is crucial, particularly if your loved one has cognitive issues that make ostomy care confusing. 

As a trusted provider of nursing care services in the greater Chicago area, we have helped many clients and their families with ostomy care. Here are some of the most effective ways you can assist your loved one: 

  • Learn everything you can about having a stoma
    This is the best way you can prepare for this labor of love. Understanding the patient perspective, benefits of proper care, and risks of poor care will make you most effective for the job.
  • Involve your senior loved one in their care
    It may be tempting to have your senior simply sit still in order to do everything yourself easily and in the least amount of time. But bear in mind that this can often make a loved one feel useless and stripped of their independence, especially when their care requires you to be in their personal space. Encourage your loved one to participate more (based on their ability) while avoiding criticism.
  • Break down the tasks into small, simple steps
    As providers of home care services in Illinois ourselves, we know full well how keeping it simple can make everything easier. Explaining everything at once (or worse: avoiding explanation of anything) can be overwhelming or confusing to your aging loved one.

Remember, it’s always best to be practical in deciding the extent of what you can or can’t do for your loved one’s care. Ask for help when you need it.

At Passionate Private Duty our care professionals can assist your loved with compassionate, skilled home care in Pingree Grove, Illinois and surrounding communities. We also offer infusion therapy, wound care, companion care, and 24/7 private duty nursing.

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