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Colostomy UK has been delivering Stoma Aware training for a number of years; however, the current format was introduced in 2017. The training seeks to educate organisations about the needs of ostomates, and the nature of hidden conditions. We educate organisations about what a stoma is, why someone might have a stoma and talk about ‘stoma stigma’. We talk about toilets, ostomates practical and emotional needs, infrastructure, and staff behaviour. At the end of the training, we act as a critical friend, supporting organisations to change their policies and procedures and overcome institutional prejudice.
Often organisations approach us for training, especially if they have an employee who is undergoing stoma surgery. We have also delivered training to organisations after ostomates have contacted us reporting a negative experience. This was the case when Blake Beckford contacted us. He was humiliated when his colostomy bag leaked on his way to a meeting and staff at a conference centre on route refused to let him use the toilet. Despite explaining to the receptionist that he had a ‘medical condition’ and desperately needed to use the toilet, he was refused and told that the toilets “weren’t for the general public.” Blake said this bad experience made him worried about leaving the house. “It put me off going out, I would have to try and plan my route knowing the toilets that had a little more space to be able to change my stoma [bag] quickly should I need to.”
We conducted Stoma Aware Training with the conference centre concerned and we have also supported airports, supermarkets, law firms and factories (to name a few).
If you have a bad experience, or if you know an organisation who would benefit from this training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about our work to create a ‘Stoma Friendly Society’ check out our campaigns work.