There are so many different types of ostomy pouches that it can be confusing for not only patients but for nurses and therapists as well. In the past there were only a handful of pouching systems to choose from, but thankfully there are now a variety of products that have been created to address specific needs and individual differences.
Ostomy pouches can be:
- 1-piece or 2-piece
- Convex or flat
- Rigid or flexible
- With or without a filter
- Opaque or transparent
- Velcro, clip, interlocking tabs or spout tail closure
- Pre-cut, cut to fit or moldable
These are not the only options but I hope that gives you a better understanding of pouching systems. As healthcare professionals it is not only our job but our responsibility to educate patients on the options that are available to them. In order to do that, we need to be knowledgeable enough of the various products that are on the market and the clinical indications for use. While we should not overwhelm patients with 100’s of options, if a pouching system is not working for a patient, we should be ready to make a recommendation on a different system to try.
What is the best pouch for a patient?
What I’ve learned in my clinical practice is that there are certain pouching systems that I could not get my patients independent with. It’s not to say that the pouch was bad but it was simply not designed to meet that person’s needs. For that reason there is no one best pouch. A pouch that works for one may not work well for another. Regardless of what system you use, make sure you understand why you are using it and that it matches the patient’s needs.
I highly recommend everyone take the time to familiarize themselves with the basic options so that you can better prepare your patients with an ostomy.
To learn more about pouching systems and ostomy management, check out our ostomy management certification course .
Jeffrey Despommier, OTR, OMS, CUA, ATP
About the author – Jeffrey is an occupational therapist with over 15 years of rehabilitation experience. He is board certified as a urologic associate and ostomy management specialist. He also specializes in complex rehab technology and is board certified as an assistive technology professional.