Bladder and bowel dysfunction are common complications following resections for prostate, colorectal, and gynaecological cancers. Post-operative dysfunction is mainly the result of damage to the autonomic pelvic nerves and occurs predominantly at the pelvic nerve plexus. Damage to these nerves can cause a need to strain to initiate voiding, constipation and urinary and faecal incontinence.49 Such physical sequelae represents a constant reminder of the surgery and impacts significantly on daily activities and social functioning.50
Ostomy formation is an intrusive operation that results in significantly altered bodily function and body image and creates challenges for personal care. The most commonly reported stomal concerns are painful or irritated peristomal skin, pouch leakage, odour and noise from the appliance, fear of running out of supplies, and difficulties disposing of a full pouch.51 Such difficulties may significantly affect lifestyle, work, travel and intimate relationships. The SCN is in an ideal position to address these issues.
Access the EdCaN colorectal cancer case-based learning resource for information and learning activities relevant to stomal therapy.
Discuss the effects a urinary or faecal stoma may have on an individual's physical, psychological, and social functioning.
Access the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Stoma Appliance Scheme52 website and outline the government assistance available to ostomates.
Identify who, post-surgery for cancer, is at risk of:
- Faecal incontinence
- Urinary incontinence.
Describe nursing interventions to minimise the impact of the above post-surgical symptoms.