How Stoma Nurses around the world are being impacted by and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic

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Dutch Stoma nurses

Stoma nurses around the world share their personal stories with us about how they are being impacted and coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you to all our nurses who have shared their personal story with us.

A message from a WOCN with 20 years career, Japan

We share the experience of Japan and our hospital with stoma care nurses all over the world.

At our facility, we reduced the basic routine follow-up of stoma outpatients during the period between the government’s declaration of an emergency and the subsidence of community-acquired infections. For those who have no problems with stoma care, we responded by telephone consultation or postponed hospital visit until the infection subsided, and direct care was reduced by 80%.

When going out and contacting many people, ostomates are concerned about infection before going to hospital, fear of infection in hospital, and infection from asymptomatic outpatients and medical staff.

In particular, it is necessary to take measures in consideration of the fact that excrement produces aerosols that are considered to be at risk of infection, and that stoma outpatient department is at risk.

When dealing with excrement under the COVID-19 regulations in the hospital, PPE is used appropriately according to the prevalence of community-acquired infection. There were restrictions on the use of masks and gowns during the first wave, but I took care while anticipating that sufficient measures could not be taken in the future.

In Japan, Japanese Society of Stoma and Continence Rehabilitation (JSSCR) announced early the guideline for stoma care against the spread of COVID-19. This has been a very helpful guide for us in our daily clinical care with anxiety.


COVID-19 is a catastrophe that exceeds the natural disasters that Japan often experiences. Stoma care is care in a closed room environment that deals with the excretion as a potential source of aerosols. You must understand and care for the situation and risks.

COVID-19 will change the way the stoma care outpatient works.

However, what is important is not to do it because there is a risk of infection, but to think about the timing of the infection situation and how to deal with it.

I would like to continue to evolve by providing care that allows ostomates to live with peace of mind and constantly devising ways and methods for medical staff to provide safe care.

Miki Masada, Japan

I am working for the hospital located in Kagawa in Shikoku Island in Japan designated for infectious diseases. 

Thank you to all the medical practitioners around the world who are working hard every day to combat COVID-19. In my hospital, the ward that had been set up for treatment of Covid-19 patients has now closed and returned to a general ward just a few days ago. There were 28 infections and 0 deaths in our area. It may have been reduced because of the countryside area where we are located, in an island country.

Both doctors and nurses have worked hard for patients. We WOCNs opened the windows of the outpatient office as shown in the photo and attached a shield to protect themselves from infection while taking care of the patient to minimize patient anxiety. Even in such a situation, one day a patient gave me a present. It was some handmade masks, made by my patient who is currently going through cancer treatment. The masks have cute designs and even a lace ‘celebrity’ one. What a lovely gesture! It was a moment of pride and joy to be a nurse.

The infection is not over, but let’s overcome this difficult time! A happier life is waiting for you. We are looking forward to sharing this information with friends around the world!

Shinobu, Japan

Invisible COVID-19 has put the people of the world in fear and continues to bother people secretly and repeatedly.  At Specialist Nurse Outpatients Consultation Dept for Stoma / Wounds / Incontinence, I am working with patients at the limit of in-contact care by carrying out more careful infection prevention than the usual hand-washing to avoid 3Cs1), Closed spaces with poor ventilation, Crowded places with many people nearby and Close-contact setting such as close-range conversations.

Some patients change or cancel appointments due to concern about infection.  Reduced number of patients visit with appropriate protective measures. We are also providing telephone consultations and instruction.  We are aware of the importance of practising daily temperature measurements, enforced gargling after returning home and during work and information collection to avoid risks.  Triage is regarded as a shared task among all staff of our hospital.  We are wiping the beds, doorknobs, chairs, etc. every time a person leaves to prepare for the next patient.

People are cautious and are slowly moving forward to end COVID-19 infection along with the rest of the world.  As well as taking a fighting stance, everyone, including myself, is taking good care of our own health. Japan-One-Team is battling adhering to handwashing, wearing of infection preventing masks and distancing from people avoiding 3 Cs. 

I think that we are now at the crucial time. I can only thank the medical staff who are united in providing treatment and care on site.  So, we have to refrain from unnecessary and non-urgent going-out and we make one wish to end the historical medical crisis in the middle of this disaster.

*The below is a moment when I felt that an even greater sense of accomplishment than normal. I cared for a coronavirus patient who had been managed with enteral nutrition and experienced skin trouble after continued diarrhea. The skin condition was improved after usage of the powder and paste skin protectors I applied. I could make use of knowledge/technique as a certified nurse!               

1)Note: “Avoiding 3 Cs” is a catchphrase for prevention of Covid-19 infections spoken in Japan

Pascale, France

I have been practising at Groupe Hospitalier du Havre Jacques Monod since 2003 as a stoma nurse / ET nurse. The health crisis due to this coronavirus has forced the hospital to think about a new institutional organisation. All surgical operations have been cut back which therefore has an impact on stoma-care services.

For my part, I have continued to carry out my work in the Department of General Surgery, as we have had some new stoma patients that were operated as emergency procedures. All outpatient consultations in stomacare have been cancelled. Follow up of stoma patients is necessary and is carried out by phone and by digital means.

During the initial stages of the confinement, I stayed at my home. I became more and more anxious as I listened to the media, informing the population about the danger of the virus. I became so worried about passing it on to my family and worried about returning to work. When I did go back, full of apprehension, I realised that everything had been put in place to work together with colleagues in a serene

It is important to follow the recommended measures to avoid the spreading of the virus.

Marjolein Visser, Stoma- and woundcarenurse, St. Jansdal Hospital Harderwijk, The Netherlands

The impact of Covid-19 is that it’s a quiet outpatient clinic at the moment, in a desolated hospital: we work alone, eat alone, have meetings by phone and miss close contact with colleagues and patients. Only a lot of calls and email contact with patients. It needs a lot of new skills and energy in this practical field, to explain the situation to the patient. The heat of the masks is hard and not knowing which colleague is behind the mask is very intimidating.

Personally I wonder how we have to adjust our work to the 1,5 mtr society and when will life be “normal” again?

 What did we learn from this situation? Is there a possibility we will increase digital contact with patients – via video-call to inform the patients and use of instruction movies will increase? Perhaps there can be more E-health solutions for ostomy’s, their caregivers and professionals.

Olga Ostendorf Ruymbeke, Urology, Continence & Stoma nurseTWB, Homecare Roosendaal, The Netherlands

At the moment, the focus inside and outside the organisation is about COVID-19. It’s almost like no other care is provided. It is noticeable that colleagues contact me less frequently if there are problems in for example ostomy care. The number of requests for my support are decreasing. That’s a pity for ostomates who experience problems.

A nice extra however, is that I can be part of the Viral team. The Viral team gives care to clients who are suspected of COVID-19 contamination or have tested positive for COVID-19. The care is given at their homes, in their own familiar environment. 

I’m glad that I can contribute to care for COVID-19 contaminated clients. But at the same time, I’m worried about clients with a request for support that will not reach me.

Airis Fakirmohamed, Ostomy nurse Beatrix Hospital, Gorinchem, The Netherlands

At the Beatrix Hospital, I work as an ostomy nurse in the outpatient clinic as well as a general nurse on the surgical ward. With COVID-19, this ward became a specific location for Corona patients. In March, I worked all my hours on this Corona ward.

Although I was afraid (I have a 12 year old daughter, will she be safe enough? Will I contaminate the people I love?), I feel I had to do this. It’s my job and these patients need us. Working on the Corona ward is hard. It’s a nasty virus and it’s unpredictable in it’s development. I’ve seen more people die than I’m used to and protective clothing is really hard to work in.  As a result of doing this work, I had to keep social distance with my daughter and family to protect them. An enormous sacrifice! 

Now I’m back again in ostomy care. My contact with ostomates is via phone or mail as much as possible. Most ostomates are high risk patients and it’s important that they don’t visit the hospital to avoid risk of contamination. Hopefully this will all change for the better soon.

Nadège, France

When we enter the patient’s room we wear a mask, glasses, hygiene cap, overalls and apron. This uniform is very hot. We change hygiene cap and apron between each room. We take time to change, to wash our hands and we use a lot of equipment. 

My surgery unit became a Covid unit. We have 24 patients in my unit. My work is different because consultations are forbidden. I follow up patients by phone and by email. If they need some advice, they contact me. They send me a photo of their stoma or wound and I give them advice. I send them a prescription by email or fax. 

I also help my colleagues in the Covid unit too. I’m in charge of the phone because the patients families call a lot as visiting is prohibited. I disinfect doors, computers and phones a few times a day. I put away the medicine and the equipment.

Best regards and stay safe.

Kitty, The Netherlands

The work is different, there are some adjustments, but we are still trying
to help our patients, even with the ‘Corona clothes’. For instructions we
are using a lot of Facetime or Skype when the family is not allowed to be
with the patient.

I wish everyone good luck, good health and keep smiling.

Alison, UK

“At the beginning of March University Hospital Birmingham was preparing for the Virus, all visitors were stopped and clinics were all held over the telephone, obviously this involved giving cancer diagnosis and so telephone follow up for the patients from the Colorectal Nurses was paramount. Walking into the Hospital was slightly eerie as there was no one other than staff in the corridors and on the wards. One of the wards has an 8 bedded High dependency unit at the very end as a separate ward (ITU is a separate ward completely). Over a matter of a week the general ward was transformed into an ITU with ventilators at every bed allowing 28 more ventilators.

In mid-march I was as usual working on the wards teaching patients how to care for their stomas so we could get them home and free up beds. All cancer surgery was postponed to free up beds too. Then I became unwell, high temperature, cough, sore throat and generally feeling the worst I have ever felt in my life. The first two weeks are all a bit of a blur I felt so unwell. I have a colleague that helps me in the
community and she was following up patients that had been discharged home over the telephone.

Now fully recovered Alison is assessing options for the most appropriate way to return to work.

Karen, Switzerland

Routine check-ups for stoma patients have been cancelled. I have been giving advice over the phone and some patients have sent me photos of their stomas. Otherwise I am doing more wound care, even routine dressings, to help my colleagues in the different health centres.

Margarete – Germany

Caring for patients even during this time of COVID- We work together and I do what I can! My part is to assist in ostomy and wound care in various departments. 

Since the start of COVID-19 I have taken over the shifts of an older colleague, who is considered at risk, and so have not been working in my usual role as a WOCN. As lots of operations have been cancelled, the workload in stoma therapy has also decreased a little. 

I’m now working in the area of visceral surgery after being away from this work for many years.

Thank you

A sincere thank-you to all of the nurses who took the time to share their stories with us and to all the healthcare professionals around the world who continue to work tirelessly during these unprecedented times.

eakin® and Healthy Kidz partner up to increase children’s physical activity

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healthy kidz charity

eakin® have recently joined forces with the successful physical activity programme, Healthy kidz. The programme is currently deployed in almost 100 schools throughout Northern Ireland. It provides a non-sport-specific, four-stand programme aimed at increasing physical activity, fitness levels and general health of children across schools.


Unfortunately as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic that we all find ourselves in, schools worldwide have shut and social distancing measures put in place. This hasn’t stopped Healthy Kidz from delivering their programme to families on a global scale.

What is the healthy kidz global challenge

The challenge calls on families around the globe to get involved and increase their levels of activity through daily physical and fun challenges that can be logged on the Healthy Kidz app.

Along with logging activity points for any type of activity, they can also add additional details with regards to healthy eating and sleep too.  Families can compete against each other and others from all over the world. 

Every week a new set of 7 day challenges and tips will be available on the Healthy Kidz social media channels.  Any user who manages to complete the 7 Day Streak is entered into a weekly competition to win some great prizes.

For more information about Healthy Kidz or to sign-up for its Global Challenge, visit:

eakin® cares

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We really care about our customers at eakin® and that’s why we do everything we can to make things better, easier and less disruptive, so that a stoma is just a small part of a bigger life.  But it doesn’t stop with our customers; we also care about the community around us and our people. 

Our community

eakin student placement roles
Our 2019/20 placement students

We are proud to support our local community through partnerships with local universities by offering placement years to students on a variety of courses.  These placements provide a nurturing and learning environment where students get a taste of working on projects in an industry setting to help prepare them for the workplace after graduating.

Supporting both local and international charities is something we encourage on a corporate and personal level.  Over the Christmas period we made a donation to Save the Children instead of sending Christmas cards, and employees added with personal donations through our Christmas Jumper Day in our offices in Northern Ireland, Japan and Netherlands.

Sampling cakes in the Comber office

During February, we enjoyed delicious home-made treats to raise money for Cancer Research on World Cancer Day 2020.  We didn’t realise there were so many talented bakers at eakin®!

foodbank logoWe don’t just enjoy the food ourselves.  Employees in Comber donated a whopping 117kg of food to a foodbank, supporting local families who are struggling financially.

Our people

Healthy bodies and minds are important, especially with the rise in mental health issues such as stress and anxiety.  Recognising how important good mental health is for everyone, we invited Aware NI along to do a workshop on Mood Matters with our employees.

eakin employees in Japan
Making sure our office in Japan get their five-a-day on Fruity Wednesday, an eakin® initiative to take a break, have a healthy snack and chat with colleagues

Ostomy support bears

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ostomy support bears

Here at eakin® we are proud to support Ostomy Support Bears WA, an initiative started by Australian ileostomate, Kelly Moss.  The bears are created with the aim of providing comfort to children who are undergoing stoma surgery, and also as an educational tool.  Each teddy has a stoma with a removable pouch that can be used to explain what a stoma is and how it works to young people.

It’s not just children that find comfort in the teddies, Kelly and her team make ostomy support bears for ostomates of all ages, to help give them a sense of acceptance and comfort but most of all to put a smile on their faces. Kelly came up with the idea after being given an ostomy bear herself at the age of 42.

Kelly said “I decided I wanted to make more teddy bears but I didn’t know where to start.  I put the word out on social media asking people for help and had an overwhelming response.  I now have five ladies making bears.”

stoma bears

To keep up with demand, Kelly used crowdfunding to purchase bears that the stomas and pouches are then attached to.  So far, the group have made about 400 bears, which are donated to Perth Children’s Hospital and stoma nurses across Australia to distribute.  The bears can also be purchased and shipped internationally; Kelly has already sent bears to USA, Canada, UK and South Africa from her Perth base.

Kelly relies on donations for her not for profit work, and eakin® were delighted to be able to contribute to the project through a donation of Paediatric and Neonatal bags. 

Kelly has achieved a lot in six months and is proud of the impact she is making: “I believe this has raised awareness and helped reduce any stigma attached to having an ostomy.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this initiative and hope it continues.”

If you would like to find out more or request a bear, you can contact Kelly though her social media groups. 

Instagram: ostomysupportbears

Facebook: Ostomy support bears WA

ostomy support bears creator receiving donations
Kelly receiving the eakin® pouches from Myra Mitchell of Omnigon, our Australian partner.

Eakin make some noise for Ostomy Awareness Day 2016

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charity bake sale for colostomy day at eakin, 2016

We combined raising funds for Macmillan and doing our bit to raise awareness for Ostomy Day 2016.

While raising money for Macmillan Coffee Morning Eakin staff used the opportunity to wear our favourite colour purple and make some noise for Ostomy Awareness Day 1st October 2016!

In total we raised £378.00 on the day, this amount was matched by the company, bringing the grand total to £756.

Eakin bake for Bowel Cancer Awareness month

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bake sale at eakin

For Bowel Cancer Awareness month everyone at Eakin made an extra special effort to make money for this worthwhile cause.

Hours were spent baking cakes and buns; these were then sold during coffee breaks this week. Around £200 was raised. This amount was matched by the company, bringing the grand total to over £400.

Action Cancer Coffee Morning

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This week Eakin staff held a coffee morning to raise money for Action Cancer.

Hours were spent baking delicious cakes and buns; these were then sold during coffee breaks. There was also the opportunity to win a pamper hamper. £272.30 was raised. This amount was matched by the company, bringing the grand total to £544.60.

As part of Action Cancers latest breast cancer campaign – Don’t Duck the Issue, they will be using the money for a unique in-house breast screening service.

‘Wear it Purple’ Day

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Since purple has become our new favourite colour, we decided to run a charity event called ‘Wear it Purple’!

Since purple has become our new favourite colour, we decided to run a charity event called ‘Wear it Purple’!This event was a twist on the popular ‘Wear it Pink’ event, which raises money towards ground-breaking research into breast cancer.

Despite recent advances, breast cancer is still the most common cancer. Every year it claims the lives of 12,000 women and another 50,000 are diagnosed. This cause is particularly close to our hearts, as a long-serving colleague at Eakins is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. We wish her all the best for the rest of her treatment and a quick recovery.

This year everyone made an extra special effort to make money for this worthwhile cause. Hours were spent baking cakes and buns; these were then sold during coffee breaks this week. Around £300 was raised. This amount was matched by the company, bringing the grand total to over £600.

This event coincided with our Financial Controller turning 50! Barbara-Ann was presented with some purple accessories, to match her already very purple outfit, and a book advising her on ‘life after 50!’ Happy birthday Barbara-Ann!

TG Eakin sponsor the British Transplant Games

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TG Eakin Ltd were pleased to be Gold Sponsors of the recent British Transplant Games held in Belfast.

The Transplant Games were formed to help encourage transplant patients to regain fitness and to promote friendship and co-operation between individuals concerned with transplantation, whilst also increasing public awareness of the value of organ donation.

Now an annual event, the Games take place over 4 exciting days during which approximately 700 competitors aged between two and 80 years old (all recipients of a life-saving organ transplant) compete in sports and attend a range of events with their families.

Commenting on the event, Jeremy Eakin said „It was a privilege to sponsor the Games and support the campaign to increase the number of people on the Organ Donor Register. Many of us have family or friends who have benefited from an organ transplant and have witnessed the new opportunity for life which a transplant can bring. These games are a celebration of that gift of life.“

Pictured with Jeremy Eakin, Managing Director of TG Eakin Ltd, are Racheal McCrea (9), Dylan Smyth (7) and Megan Mullen (17) all of whom have received organ transplants.