Impact of a temporary stoma on patients' everyday lives: feelings of uncertainty while waiting for closure of the stoma


Correspondence: Anne K Danielsen, PhD Student, Department of Surgery, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Ringvej 75, 2730 Herlev, Denmark. Telephone: +45 38682412.



Aims and objectives

To examine patients′ experiences of impact of a temporary stoma on their everyday life. Furthermore, we wanted to generate new knowledge and comprehension of learning how to live with a temporary stoma.


There are many aspects, largely unexplored, that may influence patients′ adaptation to life with a stoma. Amongst these, being in a temporary state is relatively unexplored and may have a restrictive impact on patients′ adaptation.


Focus group interviews conducted with seven patients with temporary stoma were set up with a hermeneutic phenomenological perspective.


Data were processed using qualitative content analysis.


The creation of a temporary stoma led to feelings of uncertainty related to being in an undecided situation. Stoma creation led to feelings of stigma and worries about disclosure. Patients proposed group-based patient education with lay educators with a stoma to make sure that information about the stoma was based on real-life experiences.


Creation of a temporary stoma was linked to uncontrollable feelings of uncertainty. Professionals should assist patients with focus on coping strategies, as they are associated with positive re-evaluation of the situation. Introducing a coherent and structured learning environment involving both lay educators with a stoma and group-based learning would be useful.

Relevance to clinical practice

Nurses and other health professionals should support patients in problem-focused coping strategies. These strategies may be supported when patients have a high sense of coherence. Furthermore, patients′ disclosure of the stoma as a way to master feelings of stigma should be facilitated. Stoma education is central for patients, and group-based learning that involves lay educators with a stoma is seen as a way to empower patients with temporary stomas.