Purpose: The hypothesis is that the impact of a temporary stoma on a patient's daily life is determined by complications and related stoma care problems.
Method: A prospective clinical trial was performed, studying complications and social well-being of 37 patients with loop ileostomy and 39 patients with a loop colostomy (randomly assigned comparison). Patients were categorized according to degree of social restriction. The association between the degree of social restriction and the presence of stoma care problems and complications was assessed. Follow-up was scheduled every three months until the stoma was closed (94 percent).
Results: There is no relation between stoma type (ileostomy or colostomy) and degree of social restriction (chi-squared test, P = 0.42). The more stoma care problems or complications seen, the higher the degree of social restriction: significantly more stoma care problems were seen in the completely isolated group of patients when compared with the patients who were less socially restricted (Spearman correlation coefficient 1 = 0.35, P = 0.003). Especially stoma leakage, peristomal skin irritation, dietary prescriptions, retraction, and prolapse of the stoma have significant impact on the patient's daily life.
Conclusion: Stoma surgery has a great influence on a patient's daily life. There is a clear relation between the number of stoma care problems and the degree of social restriction. Follow-up of stoma patients under close surveillance of stoma care nurse to minimize stoma care problems and a careful surgical technique are advocated for good stoma care.