If You’re in the Hospital With an Ostomy

Take your ostomy supplies with you if you have to go to the hospital. The hospital might not have the same type you use. Be ready to do some explaining and teaching, especially if you go to a hospital where ostomy patients are rare, or if you go for a problem not related to your ostomy.

Do not assume that all hospital staff know a lot about ostomies. Do not let the hospital staff do anything you think may be harmful, such as give you laxatives, give an enema through your stoma or rectum, or use a rectal thermometer. If you’re in doubt about any procedure, ask to talk to your doctor first.

Also ask to have the following information listed on your chart:

  • Type of ostomy you have
  • Whether your rectum has been removed or not
  • Details of your management routine and the products used
  • Procedures to be avoided (see above)

In its original form this document was written by the United Ostomy Association, Inc. (1962-2005) and reviewed by Jan Clark, RNET, CWOCN and Peg Grover, RNET. It has since been modified and updated by:

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: June 2, 2017 Last Revised: June 12, 2017

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