Aim. This paper reports a study whose aim was to assess the quality of care in ostomy patients seen from a patient perspective.
Background. A stoma operation causes profound changes in a patient's life because of resulting physical damage, disfigurement, loss of bodily function, and change in personal hygiene. Such changes are a cause of major concern for patients and raise important issue for the quality of care.
Methods. The study group comprised patients who had undergone a colostomy for rectal cancer or an ileostomy for ulcerative colitis, all attending a stoma outpatient clinic. Quality of care was assessed using the identity-oriented dimension of the validated questionnaire ‘Quality of Care from the Patient's Perspective’. Forty-two ileostomy and 49 colostomy patients completed the questionnaire.
Result. While the vast majority of patients in both groups thought that most topics in the questionnaire were important, most rated many aspects of their quality of care as unsatisfactory. One-third of the colostomy patients and one-half of the ileostomy patients were dissatisfied with the information they received about the results of medical examinations and laboratory tests, and an even higher proportion was dissatisfied with their opportunities to participate in the decision-making process or to discuss sexual matters. Stoma-related complications, which occurred in 71% of the ileostomy patients and in 43% of the colostomy patients, had no impact on these results.
Conclusion. Information and counselling for patients having ostomies, both on the part of specialist nurses and colorectal surgeons, appeared to deficient, suggesting that standards for quality of care require continuous evaluation and revision.