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.