Exploring individuals' perceptions of living with a stoma
The NHS Five-Year Forward View (NHS England, 2014) set out how the health service needed to change, and emphasised a more engaged relationship with patients, carers and citizens in order to promote wellbeing and prevent ill health. As nurses, we are instrumental in facilitating ownership and responsibility for health, as well as promoting and enhancing an individual's wellbeing or quality of life.
Stoma formation is often the result of a major health concern, recent diagnosis or prolonged illness. For many people, having a stoma formed can significantly affect their quality of life (Burch, 2016). There are approximately 120 000 people in the UK with a stoma—that is equivalent to 1 in every 500 people living in the UK (Colostomy UK, 2019). The most common types of stomas are colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy.
Much has been written about the effects on quality of life following stoma formation. A good or acceptable quality of life will be different for every individual and is defined in the Encyclopaedia Britannia as the degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy life events—such events may include work, hobbies or socialising. Boyles (2010) suggested that, regardless of the reason for stoma formation, the creation of the stoma has a multi-faceted impact on patients and the way they lead their lives. In the Association of Stoma Care Nurses (ASCN) stoma care guidelines (ASCN, 2016) one of the key facts stated is that patients with a stoma may develop complications that are debilitating and life-changing.
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