04 October, 2019
Saturday 5th of October is Ostomy awareness day across the world.
Together let’s spread awareness and help #TacklingTheStomaStigma. Colostomy UK would like you to engage and share our posts today to reach a wider audience #AllInForOstomy.
Most people have never heard of a stoma. They have no idea what one is or the challenges that those living with a stoma can face. Although there are an estimated 120,000 people living with a stoma in the UK today, it’s quite likely that if you are going to undergo the operation, you may not know anyone else who has. Ostomates often remark that when they first had the surgery they felt like they were “the only person in the world with a stoma.”
This lack of general awareness can have the effect of isolating people who have been through the surgery and making them feel as though they have something to be ashamed of/not tell others.
Anyone (stoma or not) can help to raise awareness whether it’s online, at work or in their community just by sharing information.
Why might someone have a stoma? To name a few, dysfunctional bowel/ bladder, diverticulitis, childbirth, trauma to the bowel or bladder, cancer, IBD (e.g. Crohn’s disease).
Train your staff
As well as raising general awareness about stomas, if you work in any sort of public facing business then training your staff to recognise the practical and emotional needs of ostomates can greatly improve their experience with your venue/business.
Having a stoma is a hidden condition and many ostomates worry that, their stoma will be ‘revealed’ in a public or they will be challenged for using accessible facilities. Colostomy UK have worked with a variety of different organisation including local councils, leisure centres, care homes and airports to implement training. The overall aim as well as educating staff on the basics of what a stoma is, and to encourage them to treat people empathetically.
Please contact us if you would like to hear more about the training we offer to make your organisation more accessible to people living with a hidden condition/disability. 0118 939 1537.
Upgrade your toilet facilities
Another very easy way in which you can make life easier for ostomates is to upgrade your current toilet facilities with ostomates in mind. Inadequate accessible toilet facilities act as a form of social exclusion. When an ostomate goes out, they need to be sure that if necessary they can find a suitably equipped toilet in which to change their stoma bag.
Our research has also revealed that ostomates are often verbally challenged and sometimes even physically assaulted when they use accessible toilets. Accessible Toilet signage is frequently misleading. It can inadvertently suggest that the facilities are only for use by people with physical disabilities.
Upgrading your toilets is simple and not costly it will also benefit others using your facilities. What is needed is a hook (to hang clothing/personal items) a clean shelf (To provide a sanitary surface on which to lay out medical supplies) and a bin (To enable the disposal of used stoma bags, this should ideally be located in the toilet cubicle.) Signage – not all disabilities are visible. A mirror – to enable ostomates to see their stoma while changing their bag.
Get in touch and talk through with us how you can make positive changes to support your customers and employees by making your toilets more inclusive.
adminline: 0118 939 1537 info@ColostomyUK.org