Where can I buy interesting ostomy accessories?
The basics of ostomy care require, at a minimum, the use of a skin barrier and a pouch. Additional supplies, or accessories, may be necessary to ensure a safe, secure, and predictable seal. Typical accessories include paste, belts, and closure devices like clips. Determining the need for accessories (or any product for ostomy care) is partially based on the traditional principles of ostomy care: the stoma must be protected from trauma, the skin around the stoma must be protected from the stool, and both the skin and the stoma need to be protected from the products used. Other principles for consideration include preserving patient dignity, ensuring simplicity in care, and minimizing costs associated with care. Use these principles when determining the benefit of any accessory for your ostomy care.
Individual experiences with ostomies can sometimes foster creativity and innovation, as people develop products intended to improve their management of life with an ostomy. We have selected some of these products for review.
Ostowash is a cleansing and sanitizing system for your ostomy pouch. It consists of a stainless steel washing basin that attaches to a wall at the side of the toilet, at the level of the toilet tank. During pouch cleaning, you position it over the toilet bowl and, when not in use, you can move it out of the way into a holding position. The system requires installation, consisting of a T-line to your toilet’s water line and mounting on an adjacent wall surface. To personalize the basin for use, you attach a faceplate that corresponds to your own flange size. The website states the cost of the product is equivalent to that of a fridge. The manufacturers recommend the use of their own cleansing solution produced by Ecolab®.
While Ostowash is an option for pouch cleansing, several considerations may not make it a viable or reasonable component of care. It is a large and visible system, with potentially significant start-up costs. It would be readily noticeable in a bathroom, eliminating privacy and essentially forcing disclosure to anyone using your bathroom. It lacks portability, so you would still require two methods for emptying your pouch, using the Ostowash when at home and the traditional method of emptying through the tail when away from home (e.g., travel, shopping, and dining out). Depending on Ostowash as your primary emptying system may inadvertently lead to you limiting activities outside of the home, as you may become uncomfortable with traditional methods of emptying. Simplicity in care means being able to replicate what you do in a variety of settings.
It is not clear if the method would work with all pouching systems. It is certainly intended for those using two-piece systems only. It will work for traditional coupling mechanisms such as Hollister’s New Image™, ConvaTec’s Natura™ and Coloplast’s Assura™, but it is unclear whether there will be durability of tack for the newer systems such as ConvaTec’s Esteem Synergy™ and Coloplast’s Sensura Flex™. There is no data on the impact of the cleanser and/or the system on the pouch over time in relation to the security of the coupling mechanism and the pouch’s ability to maintain its odour-free barrier.
Determining cost effectiveness would be dependent upon a multitude of factors: the cost of the system and the cleansers versus the potential cost savings incurred through reduced pouch usage. If you have a temporary stoma, you may not obtain any benefit from the installation of this system. The size of your bathroom may be a limiting factor, as there needs to be ample clearance between the toilet tank and any adjacent walls/counters to fit the Ostowash. There is no information on warranties or maintenance programs.
If you would like more info about this pouch cleansing system, you can visit their web site at www.ostowash.com.
This latex sleeve, which fits over your abdomen, follows similar technology used to protect casts or bandages on arms and legs from water during bathing or swimming. The sleeve is pulled into place over your pouch, and then a manual pump extracts air, providing a waterproof seal. The sleeve is wide (approximately 10 inches (25cm)) and comes in a variety of sizes. It does require hand strength to pull it up and over your abdomen and pouch, and to release the vacuum for sleeve removal.
Because the sleeve is under suction, it will not provide room for pouch expansion during stoma function. Using it for short durations, such as for bathing or swimming, may be more tolerable for those with more frequent stoma function (ileostomy). It is unclear whether the Stay-Dry Pro-Pump™ is visible under bathing suits. In general, patterned suits tend to conceal pouches better than solid colours.
This device is not required for routine bathing or swimming. Uncovered pouching systems are able to withstand the exposure to moisture associated with these activities. You can easily dry the pouch with a towel or by using the cool setting on a hair dryer. However, if you like vigorous activities such as water-skiing, or prefer long soaks in a hot tub, then this device may provide you with a greater sense of security.
The device retails for approximately $90. It is not suitable for those with a latex allergy. For more information, see www.weircomfees.com.
Gas release from a pouching system can sometimes be a challenge for some individuals. Integrated filters in pouches may provide an option for some, but there are inherent disadvantages to these filters: delayed time for gas release through the filter, causing the pouch to billow, or the filter clogging or failing when exposed to liquid stool. Osto-EZ-Vent is an alternative for those who prefer more rapid release of gas from the pouch, or dislike opening the pouch (through ‘burping’ or tail opening) to release the gas.
The Osto-EZ-Vent™ is a plug (similar in appearance to the nipple on a blow-up beach ball) that is attached to the top of a pouch. An adhesive tape permanently bonds it to the pouch, so each vent is disposed with the pouch. There is no deodorizing filter associated with the vent; it is simply a gas-release valve. It is easy to access, and may be easier than trying to release gas through the tail of a pouch, or provide an option for those who typically can’t use integrated filters because of leakage issues (ileostomies). It is not clear how secure the vent is under extreme pressure from over-filled pouches.
The vents cost approximately $12US for a package of 10. More information is available through www.kemonline.com.
The Comfy Drive is a padded cover that slips onto a seat belt to provide cushioning from the seatbelt if it rides over the stoma. It can be applied to either the waist strap or the over-the-shoulder strap. Typically, layers of clothing are sufficient to protect the stoma from the belt, but if you are concerned about irritation, this may give you a sense of comfort. The cover is interchangeable between cars. Retail pricing is approximately $25 and is available through Weir Comfees at www.weircomfees.com.