Background: The formation of a stoma is associated with important effects on quality of life (QOL). The objective of this prospective pilot study was to assess the effect of age on QOL after stoma formation.
Methods: Forty-nine patients requiring stoma formation had their QOL assessed by completion of the SF-36 v2 (SF-36v-1999 QualityMetric, Inc.) QOL questionnaire at three time points (preoperatively, at 6 months and at 12 months postoperatively).
Results: There was evidence of a difference in mental function according to age (P = 0.05) with younger patients continuing to improve in QOL to 12 months, whereas older patients started higher but any improvement in their QOL over time was too small to be shown. Physical function of QOL improved over time in both younger and older patients, but the pattern of change differed. Older patients started higher but reached their maximum QOL by 6 months, whereas younger patients continued to improve. There was also evidence of a difference related to presentation with acute presentations starting lower in terms of QOL than elective presentations and showing an increase in QOL at both 6 and 12 months. No difference in change in QOL could be shown for type of stoma, sex or reversal.
Conclusions: There was evidence that age and presentation are factors that influence changes in the QOL of stoma patients. Studies have shown that a stoma nurse specialist may help to increase QOL. Therefore, stoma therapy should be targeted at older patients who require more physical and mental support in adjusting to life with a stoma.