Going home with colostomy or ileostomy

If your baby had severe problems with his gut, he may have had a colostomy or ileostomy while he was in hospital.

This is where the colon or small bowel is attached to an opening in the wall of the abdomen called a stoma, so that his poo can bypass the damaged section of the gut and collect in a bag. Coping with this at home may sound very daunting, but many people do.

How to manage colostomy or ileostomy

Your healthcare team will show you how to prepare the bag, drain and secure it, change it, and care for the skin around the stoma (opening). They will also tell you what to do if you notice constipation or diarrhoea, or problems with the stoma. A healthy stoma is red/pink in colour. If the stoma appears darker in colour you should call your healthcare team.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital has detailed guidance on caring for a colostomy of ileostomy.

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  1. Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust (2010) Stoma care, http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/health-professionals/clinical-guidelines/stoma-care/
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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2012. Next review date April 1st, 2015.

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