Hospital Visitor Program

Ostomy Halifax began because of the need for new ostomates to understand that their lives after surgery could continue to be active, productive and normal. "Seeing" a volunteer ostomate who has had similar surgery goes a long way to understanding that this is true. "Talking" to a visitor volunteer can be confirmation that this is true. To become a visitation volunteer, our members are required to meet the visitation guidelines laid down by Ostomy Canada. We have a strict code of absolute patient confidentiality.

Your hospital ET nurse will ask you if you would like a visitor or you can call Irene, our visitation coordinator at 902-473-0414 and request one

What are some of the questions that I might ask
a volunteer visitor?

* How often do you empty your pouch?
* How long does it take to do that?
* How often do you have to change it?
* Do you change your own pouch? It looks so complicated
* How many days before you have to change the pouch?
* When do you change yours?
* Did your pouch ever leak?
* Have you had accidents in public places?
* Do you still wear the same pouch you used in hospital?
* Will I ever be able to go swimming again?
* What foods don't you eat anymore?
* I love beer, are you able to drink it?
* One day will I be able to play tennis? golf? bowl?
basketball? football?
* Can you travel?
* How do you manage night drainage?
* Can you still enjoy sex? Is the bag a turnoff?

Volunteer Visitors never give medical advise which should only be provided by Doctors, Nurses and ET Nurses. What we can do is talk to you about the day to day issues and practicalities of living with an ostomy.

Having an ostomy doesn't mean the end of the world A Chronicle-Herald "Bright Spot" article by Joel Jacobson


 Outreach Program

Since 1973 we have visited people in hospital just before and/or just after ostomy surgery. In 2014 the Outreach Program became available to any ostomate living in the Greater Halifax Area. This includes individuals who had their surgery years, even decades ago and who are having difficulties dealing with the direct or indirect effects of the surgery. It also includes people who are currently considering ostomy surgery and who have questions about living with an ostomy after their surgery.

If help involves practical day-to-day matters of living with an ostomy, our visitor coordinator will connect you with one of our trained visitors. Your visitor will have had similar surgery as you and be living with the same type of ostomy as you. Also he/she will be about your age and gender. In other words, someone you can relate to, a fellow ostomate. Issues, among many others, may include sports, swimming, dancing, odor, leakage, blockages, emotional support and personal relationships.

Here’s what will happen after you call the External Visitor Coordinator at 902-473-0414:

1. If it is determined that you need to see a health professional you will be given the phone number of an ET nurse. These ET nurses have received specialized training in ostomy care. You will make an appointment directly with them and it will likely be in a hospital setting.

2. If it your issues deal with non medical issues the visiting coordinator will likely suggest you get together with an Ostomy Halifax visitor. You will be asked when and where you would like to meet. Locations could include a private room in a pharmacy close to where you live, a local Tim Hortons coffee shop or any public place of your choosing. Your contact information would then be passed on to a volunteer who will call you and the two of you can agree on a date and time to get together. Please bring a partner or friend along if you wish.