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An important part of colostomy care is establishing helpful, manageable routines, such as knowing how and when to change your colostomy bag. You can change your colostomy pouch as often as you want, usually after a bowel motion. For a one-piece closed pouch, you will need to replace the entire pouch. With a two-piece pouch, you can replace the colostomy pouch as often as required and usually replace the baseplate (flange) once or twice a week.
Did you know - some colostomates whose output is more liquid choose to use a drainable pouch because it can be emptied whenever necessary.
If you are a colostomate who uses drainable pouches, they can be emptied whenever necessary. One piece drainable colostomy bags are usually replaced every 2-3 days according to personal preference. With two piece drainable systems, you can replace the pouch itself as often as required, and usually replace the baseplate or flange once or twice a week.
Changing your colostomy bag
- Make sure you have everything you will need immediately to hand. This might include your fresh colostomy bag, a disposable bag, any wipes you may need and a medical adhesive remover.
- Wash your hands. If you are not near running water, you can use an antibacterial hand cleanser.
- Supporting the skin with one hand, gently and slowly, ease the colostomy bag off. You can use a medical adhesive remover to help remove the flange easily and gently.
- Empty the used pouch by cutting off the bottom of the pouch. Rinse the pouch under the flush of the lavatory and place it with any wipes etc into a plastic disposal bag (A home delivery service like SecuriCare will send these bags free with your supplies). Alternatively wrap your used, emptied colostomy bag in a newspaper and put it in an ordinary biodegradable plastic bag. Colostomy bags are generally designed to be single-use and should not be cleaned and re-used. If you are finding it difficult to obtain the correct quantities of stoma bags for your requirements, stoma bag home delivery services can regularly and reliably deliver your stoma bags, complimentary products and other medication to your door.
- If you don't want to empty the used pouch, you can put it straight into the disposal bag. Whatever you choose to do, when you are ready, put your disposal bag into the domestic refuse.
Only colostomy pouches that are specifically designed with flushable parts can be flushed down the toilet.
Aura Flushable is a life changing innovation that allows you to use any toilet that takes toilet paper, anywhere, any time - you don't have to worry whether there will be facilities for disposal. Simply remove the biodegradable inner liner and flange and flush away. The clean outer cover can be popped in a pocket or handbag for disposal at your convenience.
Cleaning and caring for the stoma area
- Use plain warm water and dry wipe to gently clean around the stoma. Make sure you don't rub.
- Dry the skin thoroughly with a dry wipe. Pat gently, taking care not to rub.
- Place used wipes in the disposal bag with the used pouch.
- Wash your hands.
Applying the next colostomy bag
- You might like to use a skin barrier to protect and care for your skin and provide an ideal base for adhesion of the next colostomy bag. Simply wipe around the stoma area and leave to dry for a few seconds.
- You may need to cut the hole in your stoma pouch flange to the correct size. Alternatively, SecuriCare can cut your pouches to fit your individual stoma, so you don't have to worry about this.
- Remove the protective cover from the adhesive flange. Fit the pouch over the stoma and smooth from the centre to the edges, making sure there are no creases which might cause leakage.
- Cover the adhesive with your hands for 30-50 seconds, as the warmth will increase the adhesion to your skin.
If you are worried about odour, you might want to use an ostomy deodorant spray to neutralise the smell. You can also strike a match to get rid of any lingering smells (although be careful not to do this after using a flammable product like a medical adhesive remover or skin barrier spray).
More information on colostomy care procedures and self-care can be provided by our Stoma Care Nurses. To find out more about our nursing service, visit https://www.securicaremedical.co.uk/our-service/our-stomacare-nurses