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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is any medical assistance required to change a colostomy bag?

Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 21 Aug 2017 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I am not persuaded my husband cannot change the olostomy bag himself. He admitted a few weeks ago "it's just easier" having XXXXXXX (his d-in-law with a nurses aide certificate) do it. He has lived with her, his son and their kids for a year primarily due to the colostomy which I understand is deemed permanent. I have known him for 25 years, married for 23 years, stuck by him throughout those years while he subsisted on ssdb degenerative disk disease and I know him. He babies himself over medical issues. He was greatly influenced by an aunt who was an RN. Several people advised me when this first arose to let him learn to change his bags because once I start assisting...it won't stop. I googled information that patients living alone use a large vanity mirror to change their bags. That we have. This cannot be a new situation. Can it? Any opinion?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

Many people change their own bags and I had a patient who did this in the bathroom at work. It doesn't have to be done by someone else unless there are other deficits, such as cognitive deficits, dexterity problems such as severe arthritis in the hands, or, possibly, severe problems with vision. During recovery after the colostomy surgery for this, a patient usually does need help initially, but after that, with proper training, they should be able to do it themselves.

You could suggest he make an appointment with his GI doctor's nurse or GI nurse educator for training in how to do this himself. Even if it has been a long time since he had the surgery. The nurse educator can help give him confidence in being self reliant.

I hope this information helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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