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|Newsletters: WOCN and ET Nurses Can Be Very Helpful|
WOCN and ET Nurses Can Be Very Helpful
Many people know how Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses (WOCN) and Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Nurses help people with colostomies and ileostomies adjust comfortably to the use of these appliances. What tube feeders may not realize, is that WOCN/ET nurses are also familiar with gastrostomies and jejunostomies used for feeding tubes.
In 1995 when I had my first PEG/J put in, it was done in the GI lab by my gastroenterologist. I was referred for home health care and a dietitian; and although it took nearly two months to heal from the procedure, I had little difficulty with my skin around the tube site. I did have difficulty retaining the jejunostomy tube which was inside my PEG. After several visits to the GI lab (I know everyone on a first name basis now), my gastroenterologist and I became frustrated. As I was leaving the hospital from one of these procedures, in my versed-Valium fog, I made the wrong turn. I noticed a sign “Enterostomal Nurse.” I called my gastroenterologist the next day and asked her if it would be a good idea to see the ET nurse for pointers on retaining my tube.
I saw the nurse, we switched brands and it was better. However, I was still making regular visits to the GI lab. Finally my gastroenterologist and I decided a surgical jejunostomy would be better for me. I had my surgery in 1997 and the jejunostomy was a better choice for me. The ET nurse worked closely with me to resolve retention issues, stoma-site skin irritation and infections. It took several visits, but in time we had a plan that worked for me.
Because the body is dynamic, there are on-going changes in our reactions to different products, and what worked once may not work later. Whenever I had a new problem my doctor and I could not solve, I went back to the ET nurse and found relief. I know both my gastroenterologist and internist find the ET nurse a good resource when my stoma problems become difficult. WOCN/ET nurses are found at all teaching hospitals and in many community hospitals as well. If your physician has not considered using an WOCN/ET nurse in your on-going stoma care, you may want to suggest this to him or her. I found a specialized nurse has made my life much comfortable and livable.
To find a WOCN nurse near you, click here (select “Patient Information” then “Find a Nurse in Your Area”).