Role of the enterostomal therapy nurse in ostomy patient rehabilitation

Cancer. 1992 Sep 1;70(5 Suppl):1390-2. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19920901)70:3+<1390::aid-cncr2820701529>;2-8.


Enterostomal therapy (ET) nurses specialize in the management of patients with urinary and fecal diversions, draining wounds and fistulas, fecal and urinary incontinence, and chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers and vascular ulcers. ET nurses have much to offer in the management of patients with cancer. Such nurses play a major role in the rehabilitation of patients undergoing fecal or urinary diversions. Preoperative services include: counseling regarding planned surgical procedure, the impact of an ostomy on the patient's life, and the basics of ostomy management; sexual counseling; and stoma site selection. Postoperatively, the ET nurse instructs the patient and family in ostomy care, dietary and fluid alterations, and ways to incorporate ostomy management into the patient's life. The ET nurse also provides long-term follow-up care in outpatient settings; such care includes ongoing counseling, education, and surveillance for complications requiring medical intervention. ET nurses can recommend appropriate measures to prevent and manage skin breakdown that is related to immobility, friable skin, incontinence, and/or radiation therapy. They also can assist in correcting or containing fecal or urinary incontinence and in cost-effective management of draining wounds and fistulas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Enterostomy / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic