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Published on July 12, 2013

Colostomy Care from Mercy Health

Living with a colostomy bag? Mercy Health is here to help.

Mercy doctors and surgeons treat colorectal cancer, but it’s Mercy Home Health clinicians who help patients have a good quality of life after surgery.

Sometimes treating colorectal cancer requires removal of a large portion of the colon or the rectum. In those cases, it’s sometimes necessary to create an opening in the abdomen so that fecal matter can exit the body in a new way. During this surgery, called a colostomy, the remaining colon is connected to this abdominal opening and a special bag is attached on the outside of the opening to collect waste. A colostomy may be permanent or temporary, depending on the type and extent of surgery.

Patients who have a colostomy understandably have a lot of questions. Mercy Home Health provides not only answers, but also compassionate care that helps reduce anxiety and increase confidence during a difficult time.

“When someone has a colostomy, they’re pretty fearful at first,” says Sean McMahon, RN, CWON, Mercy Home Health wound care and ostomy nurse.

McMahon teaches patients the practical aspects of self-care and also provides the information individuals need to cope better psychologically and move forward.

“Sometimes knowing that there are others in the same situation and connecting with them in support groups can make a big difference,” he says.
And if someone is having a particularly difficult time adjusting, Mercy Home Health has access to social workers who can provide more specialized assistance.

After all, says McMahon, that’s why Mercy Home Health is here: “It’s important for patients to know that there are resources out there, and we’re here to help.”

Making Life Easier. Patients seeking help at home should visit mercyhomehealth.org, or call 1.888.690.2551.

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