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Colostomy

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

My husband has stage 4 colon, with mets to liver. Last month he had a blockage causing
emergency operation, ending in a colostomy. It has been very difficult for him, he is
trying to adjust. Home health brings the supplies. But they told him that insurance only
approved a box of wafers per month. (5) He went through that number the first few days he
was home. His skin is raw around the stoma, so nothing wants to stick. (He is diabetic so heals so slowly) I called the local drugstores to see if I could purchase some supplies,but everything is special order (and so expensive). Our insurance apparently only
pays through the home health while they are attending him, not if we buy it ourselves.
Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks so much for all the info you guys post, reading through it always helps so much.

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3355
Joined: Jan 2010

Glad that you have found us and hope that what we can share will help.

I have had a colostomy since March 2010.

Here are my suggestions:

Call your insurance provider. 5 wafers per month does not seem reasonable. Perhaps there is some misunderstanding about this and about your insurance only paying home health while they are attending.

Is he having watery output from the stoma? This can cause the type of rawness you describe. If so, call his doctor for recommendations for diet changes to help firm up the output.

Occasional irritation is not unusual. I use Karaya Powder which I get at my home health store. It will help with the 'weeping' skin around the stoma and help ease the discomfort.

Go on-line and go to the Convatec and the Holister web sites. You can request a trial supply of their products. Or you can put in a call to them (number on web site) and talk to an experienced person regarding your husbands needs. These products will come free of charge.

If you have any more questions about this or anything else, just post them and we will try to help.

Marie who loves kitties

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I order 4 boxes of wafers (20 total) per month and 1 box of bags (60) as well per month...I get close to running out of bags but usually have about 5 wafers left over....If you pm me your address I will send you all the extra I have...I do sometimes order an extra box of pouches but they run me $160...My insurance covers all 20 wafers and 60 pouches per month and I pay a $12 cutting fee to have them cut out the 34mm stoma hole in the wafer....I have some convatec pouches and a few wafers I never used and I use Hollister wafers and Pouches...I will see what all I have and need to get through the month and send the rest to you ...PM me your mailing addy or where ever you want this to get to and off it will go.......buzz

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks for the information. Home health cut down to once a week, soon we will be going
through insurance without them. Hopefully ours will pay for 20 also, if that is the
norm. Appreciate the supplies if you don't need them, will send you the address. This is
all new to us, so great to talk with others who have experience with it. Thanks, Brenda

LindaJS
Posts: 20
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi my husband is also a Stage 4 but with mets to Omentum/Peritoneum. He too had a colostomy last month - but stemming from Peritonitis/Bowel perforation. Its a hard road isnt it? We have been calling it "the new normal". Im sure after time you & your husband along with me & mine will get it all sorted into a routine and it wont be such a stressful thing.

Im guessing what you call wafers is what I call baseplates (sorry other side of the world!). We are lucky enough to have a govt sponsored system here where its all covered but 5 per month does not seem right at all! My understanding is the baseplates are changed every 2-3 days! I would try arguing with them. The supply companies here are very keen to send out samples, so perhaps you could top up your supplies with those as Marie suggested.

My husband uses a barrier film and powder to assist with adhesion. We received a sample for a sticky collar that goes over the baseplate for extra adhesion - its called the Hydro Frame "Flange Extensions" (Made by Omnigon - dont know if they are international). It looks like it could provide some extra adhesion and move the sticky part further away from the stoma which might help your husband as the sticky would be further from the raw skin (Hope that makes sense!)

Also try taking a look at http://ostomates.org (a lady in my home town!) and www.ostomates.com.au - They are Aussie & Kiwi pages but the info should still be useful.

Hope that helps - let us know how you go!

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi, yes I think the wafer would be the same as a base plate. I had not heard of flange
extensions before, we will find out about those. We haven' talked with insurance yet,
since home health has been bringing supplies. Hopefully, they will cover more that we're
told. Yes, I guess it is the new norm, as you say. My husband resisted it for over a
year, but finally had no choice. He has been pretty depressed with it, but is trying to
adjust. There is a lot of adjusting with cancer, isn't it? But we are grateful for all
the help that is there.

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi, yes I think the wafer would be the same as a base plate. I had not heard of flange
extensions before, we will find out about those. We haven' talked with insurance yet,
since home health has been bringing supplies. Hopefully, they will cover more that we're
told. Yes, I guess it is the new norm, as you say. My husband resisted it for over a
year, but finally had no choice. He has been pretty depressed with it, but is trying to
adjust. There is a lot of adjusting with cancer, isn't it? But we are grateful for all
the help that is there.

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

20 wafers and 60 pouches.........now if his skin is easily upset with the diabetes, ask the home health nurse about "ADHESIVE REMOVER WIPES" made by ALLCARE...I wipe this on the wafer adhesive and let it sit for about 3 minutes then hop in shower and take wafer off with bag attached and place it in the disposable bag they give you...then simply shower cleaning the area around the stoma...I don't know if I am suppose to but I clean mine with Ivory soap and water while Im in the shower and when I get out I use a hair dryer to dry it completely before placing the wafer on then the pouch.....
I usually change my wafer every other day so I get a small amount of wafers built up to give to whom ever can use them...I do use most all my pouches but I will use what I have to and try to cut back on usage and send you more until you get things straight with insurance company...Simply tell the home health nurse or the insurance company that yes 20 wafers and 60 pouches a month is the norm......and check on the stoma powder that was mentioned above, it really helps with irritated skin around the stoma...
Just PM me an addy when you want.........buzz

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Buzz, Thanks so much for this information. I gave my husband all this information,we cant believe how helpful everyone is on this site. He is beginning to deal with the colostomy a little better. Went to a grandchild's birthday Saturday, first outing
except dr visits. Did fairly well.
Thankfully, more wafers and pouches came last week, apparently I didn't understand how
it works. They will be sending more. I appreciate your offer so much, and will
remember it if he gets short.
I told a friend about this site, I really am amazed at how caring everyone is.
Thanks again. Brenda

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