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How do I change my ostomy?

The ostomy appliance consists of several parts. Some have a pouch or bag that collects the stool and can be opened and drained throughout the day. Others are a closed system and are disposed once they are full. The wafer (skin barrier) secures the pouch to the abdominal wall. Prior to changing your ostomy it is important to practice good hand hygiene and wash your hands prior to touching your appliance. Start by removing the wafer (skin barrier) by gently peeling it away from your skin (start at the top and work downward). You can use a an adhesive remover to help with removing the skin barrier if needed, but do not apply to the stoma. Once the barrier is off, examine your skin for any redness, irritation, breakdown or change in color. Clean the area with water – you can use a very mild soap if desired but do not use cleansers with oils or scents. Dry the area and apply a new skin barrier. Holding your hand over the pouch for a few minutes once change is complete can help with barrier adherence.

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