Ostomy Canada Society Visitor Program

Ostomy Canada Society Inc and its chapter members are dedicated to complete rehabilitation of people living with an ostomy, through mutual aid, moral support, and education.

Where does all this begin? With the trained ostomy visitor! The trained visitor is the heartbeat of the organization. Visitors come in various sizes, shapes, ages, and sex. They may be models, business people, athletes or homemakers, young and old alike, but they all have the common bond of having undergone ostomy surgery and are now living productive and happy lives. The well being of the spouse or significant other/caregivers is important in the successful rehabilitation of the person with an ostomy. Therefore, SASO/Caregivers may also be trained visitors.

Despite assurances from doctors, nurses and others concerned with complete recovery of the patient, there is no substitute for the visual proof received through a visit from a cheerful, attractive and well-adjusted people living with an ostomy. The visitor is a member of the rehabilitation team, which consists of a physician, nurse, enterostomal therapy nurse (NSWOC), and volunteer visitor.

However, only the visitor is uniquely qualified to share non-medical information and to help in the psychological and social rehabilitation of the patient. The visitor comes prepared to share positive experiences and the combined information of the members of the Ostomy Canada Society.

Potential visitors attend a training session that focuses on certain fundamentals of visiting: purposes and objectives, visitor responsibilities, phases of psychological adjustment, and concepts of basic care and management. Then the Art of Visiting is examined by looking at visiting techniques, frequently asked questions, types of visits, and potential problems. Certification of each visitor results from satisfactory participation and understanding of the role of visitor.

Once certified a visitor is called as required by the Chapter Visiting Coordinator who acts in response to a request for a visitor by a doctor or an Enterostomal Therapy nurse. When the visit has been completed, a simple report is made to the Chapter Visiting Coordinator.

Most new ostomates prefer having a visit with a trained ostomate in order to rationalize their experience and to be convinced that a happy and productive life is indeed possible after their ostomy surgery.