Question: Navigating Challenges with Ileostomy, Short Bowel, and Mobility Issues

Since 1999, I have been living with an ileostomy and also contend with a short bowel and hernias, which were deemed inoperable in 2023. After recent emergency care for a blocked bowel and multiple serious falls affecting my mobility, it was suggested I consult with a Stoma nurse/Dietitian. However, I’ve struggled to find suitable assistance in the Newcastle, Ontario area. Can you provide guidance on accessing the right resources to address my dietary needs and overall ileostomy care?

Response: Pathways to Accessing Specialized Medical Support

I empathize with the complexity of your health situation and commend you for seeking help. Here are some steps to access the care you need:

  1. Dietitian Consultation: While dietitian services are generally not covered by OHIP, they might be included in private health plans. For dietitians in the Central East region, you can explore this link: Dietitian Services – Central East. OHIP-covered local programs might exist, but you’ll need to investigate through your physician.
  2. NSWOC Nurse Access: Contact the Central East office for homecare at Central East | Home and Community Care Support Services or call 1-800-263-3877. Be assertive in your request for a Nurse Specializing in Wound, Ostomy, Continence (NSWOC) consultation. Explain your ileostomy complications, blockages, frequent falls, and the impact on your lifestyle. A physician order is not necessary, but detailed information will support your case. Initially, a general nurse might conduct an assessment, but insist on seeing an ostomy nurse.
  3. Outpatient NSWOC Clinics: Although NSWOC outpatient clinics are few in your area, the Durham Medical store in Oshawa may have an NSWOC nurse available for appointments. Check their current services as the NSWOC’s presence may not be full-time.
  4. Finding a NSWOC Nurse: For further assistance in locating a NSWOC nurse, visit the NSWOC website or Ostomy Canada, where you can use the “FIND A NSWOC NURSE” feature.

Dealing with multiple health issues can be challenging, but the right medical and dietary guidance can significantly improve your quality of life. I encourage you to explore these options and advocate for your health needs.

Warm Regards,

Karen Bruton, RN BScN MCISc-WH WOCC(C)
Nurse Education Consultant – Interprofessional Practice Support
Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada
Ostomy Canada (Volunteer)
Medical and Lifestyle Advisory Team Lead


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