family support care

Family Support

Having body-altering surgery requires some adjustment. As ever, it is vital that you are supportive and encouraging. They will need emotional and physical support to overcome the new challenges they face and come to acceptance and recovery.

Communication

Body Language

One thing you can do to help is maintain your usual body language. If you liked to cuddle up together before, the continue to do so. Try to do things as naturally as before.

Talk About It

Talk about any concerns either of you have. Are they scared? Angry? Relieved?

If there is anything you don't understand, ask questions. It will help you both to be open about what is happening and to not feel alone.

Intimate Relations

For spouses and partners, being intimate may at first cause you some concern. Again, make sure you communicate about any pain or limitations they experience, any new fears about their body, odor, leakage or self-conciousness. It is common for an ostomate to have low self-esteem, especially about their body.

There's more information about this in Sex/Preganancy page.

Have a Sense of Humor

While you are all adjusting, have a good sense of humor. It can go a long way to helping you both to cope with the initial uncertainties.

Caring

Before leaving the hospital after treatment, your ostomate will receive plenty of instructions about how to care for themselves. Be supportive, but if they are able, allow them the freedom to handle their changing/replacing/cleaning. You can encourage their independence by not becoming a full-time caregiver.

Education

It's a good idea to familliarise yourselves with the many services and resources available. Spend some time together reading through the materials and inquiring around the various support and charity groups and decide what will best support you. Talk to your physician, healthcare professional or ostomy nurse.

myFlexicare has lots of information that can provide you with a solid basis to begin, or remind yourselves.

Long Term

By being informed and keeping positive, you and your family can continue to enjoy a good quality of life. Accept the changes and be appreciative of each other. The person with an ostomy may have changes in their anatomy, but they are still the same person and need to be loved and respected as always.