This section is not meant to replace the expert advice from your caregiver – NSWOC, doctor, etc. and yet can serve as a guide.
You may have already heard different terms and are confused about just what exactly they refer to. To clarify the terminology, a ‘bag’ or ‘pouch’ refers to the part that collects waste. ‘Flange,’ ‘barrier,’ ‘wafer,’ or ‘faceplate’ all refer to the part that sticks to your body. The general term ‘pouching system’ refers to the entire system (one or two-piece). The general term ‘appliance’ is also sometimes used.
Pouches (or bags) are one or two-piece, can also come in ‘closed end’ or ‘drainable’ models. A drainable pouch has an open end to release waste and closes via a clip or Velcro closure. A closed-end pouch has no opening and is removed and discarded instead of emptied. Many pouches are now made with filters near the top, allowing gas to escape without odour.
Barriers (or flanges) are available in various types of materials. Some are called standard wear, and others are extended wear. In general, a standard wear barrier is used when stool is semi-formed or formed. An extended wear barrier is usually used when a stoma drains urine or stool that is loose or liquid. The extended wear barrier does not break down like a standard wear barrier when it comes in contact with liquid waste.
Most hospitals employ one or more Ostomy Nurses, also referred to as NSWOC’s (Nurses Specializing in Wound and Continence). These are nurses who have taken specialized training in ostomy care. When you are discharged you will receive a supply of ostomy products recommended by your Ostomy Nurse to get you started. But where do you start and what to buy? How does one choose two-piece, one-piece, closed, drainable, different sizes, different brands? You may find that the product introduced to you by your hospital works well, and yet we encourage patients to learn different brands and new appliances. Your local Chapter or Support group is also a great source for nonmedical advice.
The Ostomy Canada Society Inc. does not endorse one brand or type over another – all have merit. What works well for one patient may not suit another, and what one person swears by others don’t like. Everyone has different needs and preferences. The most prevalent brands in Canada are Coloplast, ConvaTec, Hollister, Marlen, SALTS, Nu-Hope and CyMed. Your Ostomy Nurse is the best source to ask to try different product samples. They will know your ostomy and skin characteristics. If this isn’t possible, you can contact the manufacturers directly. All have websites and toll free numbers for information.