Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have developed a new tool to assess how well patients adjust psychologically after stoma surgery. The tool is designed for use by nurses in clinical practice.
A stoma is a surgical opening on the abdomen through which faeces (colostomy and ileostomy) or urine (urostomy) is emptied into a bag for disposal.
According to Dr Kingsley Simmons at the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, who has just published a new study, up to now post-operative care for stoma patients focused on the physical aspects predominantly with little emphasis on psychosocial adjustment.
"Anyone who has had a stoma experiences drastic lifestyle changes," said Dr Simmons. 'We have evidence which suggests that many stoma patients experience loneliness, depression, anxiety and sexual problems."
It is for this reason that Dr Simmons developed OAI-23, which is a scale to monitor the effects of the procedure on patients and to assess how well patients are adjusting to it.
The tool, which is currently being used at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, provides a simple, objective and easy-to-use instrument that allows clinicians to monitor how well their patients adjust to having an ostomy, to identify patients with ongoing adjustment difficulties and to isolate major concerns.
"We decided to do this because up to now, there was no reliable scale to assess how well patients were coping after being released from hospital," Dr Simmons added. "We want psychosocial assessment to be as important as physical assessment and for there to be a more holistic approach for the care of stoma patients. The ultimate aim is for this tool to be used in clinical areas by nurses.”
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