IPO de Coimbra, Francisco Gentil, EPE
Stoma care during COVID-19 pandemic: the experience of IPO Coimbra
The Stomal Therapy Unit at IPO de Coimbra provides specialized inpatient and ambulatory care for patients who undergo surgery with elimination, feeding or respiratory ostomies. It supports preoperative and post-operative education to promote independence in stoma care, and also provides ongoing support for outpatients living with a stoma. The unit also liaisons with external healthcare providers to ensure ongoing support, consultation for management of fistulae and large wounds and assistance and support for patients that have long term brain tubes or fistulae.
The restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic required the Stomal Therapy Unit to respond early in order to ensure continuity of care. It needed to guarantee access to essential medical devices, help patients avoid complications in the stoma and peristomal skin, maintain communication with patients and their families, and reinforce the humanization of care.
To do this, the organization used daily teleconsultations to help patients manage life with a stoma. Healthcare providers used WhatsApp in order to ensure direct visual contact between patient and nurse. This enabled direct stoma visualization, evaluation and intervention at potential lesions. It also helped healthcare providers manage the patient’s purchasing needs and ensure access to necessary medical devices. This enabled patients to maintain their quality of life despite the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.