Part of adjusting to life with an ostomy involves troubleshooting the unexpected difficulties you may encounter away from home. While most ostomy patients would prefer to change or drain pouches before going places, sometimes one’s digestive system has other ideas. Plus, it’s nice to be adaptable to various circumstances.
We’d like to go over some tips for what to do whenever you must change your ostomy pouch in a public restroom.
Organize All Your Supplies at Home First
The initial step to emergency preparedness involves creating an organized inventory of all your supplies. Here’s where you ensure you have all the essentials: the pouch or pouch system, wafers/barriers, deodorizers, stoma paste, sanitary wipes, and anything else you use. Obviously, if you don’t have enough at home, then you can expect to have greater trouble in public.
Pack Extra Items for Traveling - The next tip is to select a decent-size duffle bag, purse, or something with pockets. This is where you’ll store some extra pouches and accessories . . . just in case of an emergency. Don’t leave home without two or three backups for everything.
Changing a Drainable Ostomy Pouch - Some patients prefer either to sit down or lean over a toilet as they drain their pouches. The key is to take your time and keep your balance carefully. Once you’re finished draining it, always use toilet paper or sanitary wipes to clean around the pouch opening. Then, double check to see if you have it on tightly before leaving.
Closed-End Ostomy Pouches - This approach could be much easier for patients since closed-end pouches don’t require balancing while draining. We recommend simply removing and swapping a new pouch once it’s about three-quarters full. Here, you would keep the same wafer, attach a new pouch, and sanitize/deodorize as necessary. Of course, unlike drainable pouches, this method requires you to have some type of disposable bag ready to handle the used pouch.
Changing the Entire Pouch System - Perhaps this is the most complicated approach, but if you’re used to changing the entire pouch system at home, then it’s not much different in public. However, we would recommend having pre-cut pouches ready beforehand. The logistics of trying to cut, manipulate, and change them in a cramped bathroom stall may not be enjoyable. Plus, if you're still new to ostomy management, try the other methods until you get the hang of life with an ostomy.
Follow those basic tips and you should be much better prepared for pouch-related emergencies. Finally, remember that you may not have much of a choice of restroom location, so keep that in mind when you assemble your gear. It also wouldn’t hurt to practice changing in a public restroom before you have to do it.
You can also learn much more about these pouch systems and accessories by exploring our website. Fortis Medical Products makes safe, effective, and easy-to-change ostomy supplies for colostomy, urostomy, and ileostomy patients. If you’d like to ask specific questions about selecting or changing pouches, call our Sarasota location anytime at 855-550-2600.