Home Health & Hospice

Insider’s scoop | Ostomy care

Homecare Insider, March 7, 2016

Editor’s note: This week’s Insider’s scoop/Inside story is from Home Health Aide On-the-Go In-service, Volume XV. This new edition includes 12 one-hour in-service training lessons addressing timely topics that are crucial to homecare. It also provides authoritative, comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand training lessons for group classroom settings or self-study. The in-services offer home health aides the convenience and flexibility to study when time permits and to learn at their own pace. Click here for more information.

An ostomy is an opening in the body created through surgery. There are many types of ostomies. For example:
•    A colostomy is an opening into the colon (large intestine). It may be done on any part of the colon.
•    An ileostomy is an opening into the ileum (small intestine).

It is very likely that a homecare agency will have people on census who have ostomies. Whether or not homecare being provided is directly related to the ostomy, it is very important for the home health aide to have background knowledge regarding ostomies and understand patient sensitivities.

Most people who have a colostomy or ileostomy are independent in taking care of it. However, patients may have poor vision or poor memory or other conditions that keep them from completely caring for their ostomies.
In many cases, the duties of the home health aide will include emptying or changing an ostomy pouch during the provision of personal care. Follow your agency policy for discarding the ostomy pouches. As a rule, you will discard them in a plastic bag, tie the bag closed, and then discard it in the regular outside trash. Never flush a pouch down the toilet.

Follow your agency guidelines for documenting on your visit report. Most often you will include the following:
•    Description of the stool
•    Condition of the stoma and surrounding skin
•    How the person tolerated the procedure