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WOC Patient Education

Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Nursing: Patient Education & Information

Welcome to Cleveland Clinic's Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Nursing department site. Our dedicated Nationally Certified WOC nurses specialize in working with patients before and after ostomy surgery. These nurses will help patients optimize their quality of life by providing educational resources and managing ongoing clinical support. A physician may refer a patient to a WOC nurse to help patient's learn how to care for themselves or until they are comfortable with the type of surgical procedure they had. The WOC nurse is here to serve as a resource to stoma patient's concerns and questions.

The WOC nursing staff cares for patients with:

  • Colostomies
  • Conventional and continent ileostomies
  • Conventional and continent urostomies
  • Fistulae

Each day at Cleveland Clinic main campus, our WOC nurses care for 50 to 60 people with ostomies and fistulae. Each year, they provide counseling during more than 2,700 outpatient visits. They care for children, adolescents and adults. WOC nurses are devoted specifically to helping you overcome any initial anxiety or insecurity you may feel. 

Our nurses are all board certified by a professional organization and have received special training. They keep abreast of state-of-the-art equipment and treatment programs and quickly make such innovations available to patients.

About the WOC Nursing Department

Purpose Statement

The WOC nursing department of the Cleveland Clinic is committed to providing compassionate, evidence-based expert care combined with specialized education to our patients and their families. As a consultant, educator and patient advocate, the WOC nurse works in conjunction with other multi-disciplinary teams to ensure positive outcomes and improve our patient's quality of life.

Values

  • Communication: The art of exchanging ideas and information in an open and respectful way in order to create a shared understanding.
  • Respect: Recognizing, appreciating and valuing the unique talents, ideas, and beliefs of each individual.
  • Compassion: Empathizing, listening and encouraging others during times of need.
  • Commitment: Persistence with a purpose.
  • Teamwork: Working collaboratively, using each individual’s strengths to achieve a common goal.
  • Patience: The ability to allow the individual to achieve a goal at their own pace, in their own time.

History

In 1958, Rupert B. Turnbull, Jr., MD, a pioneer in colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic learned that one of his former ileostomy patients, Norma Gill, was assisting stoma patients in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. He offered her a position as the world's first full-time enterostomal therapist and coined the term "enterostomal therapy".

Insurance Information

Some medical insurers cover WOC nursing services.

Check with your insurer to find out about your specific coverage. A fee schedule is available through Cleveland Clinic by calling 216.444.9286.

Meet the Team

Amelia Agostinelli, BSN, RN, CCCN, CWCN, COCN

Amelia Agostinelli has been an RN since 1994. She became a WOC RN in 2006 after attending the R.B Turnbull, Jr. MD, School of WOC Nursing. She particularly enjoys working with pediatric patients and chairs the department’s product selection committee.

Susan Booth, BSN, RN, RVT, WCC, CWOCN

Susan has been an RN since 1980 and a registered Vascular Ultrasound Technician since 1986. She completed her wound care certification (WCC) and BSN in 2012 and joined the WOC Nursing department. She completed her WOC nursing education through Cleveland Clinic onsite program in March, 2013.

Terri Cobb, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Terri graduated from Fairview Hospital School of Nursing in 1991, and completed her BSN at The University of Akron in 2010. She worked in the Kemper Coronary Unit, Scott Intensive Care Unit, the ICU at St. John Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic Homecare, and, most recently, Lutheran Emergency Department before joining the WOC Nursing team in 2011. She thoroughly enjoys bedside nursing. She was inducted into the Cleveland Clinic Nursing Hall of Fame in 2011, and was the recipient of Cleveland Magazine 2011 Faces of Care award.

Linda Coulter, MS, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Linda, a 2007 Cleveland State University (CSU) graduate, joined the WOC Nursing department in 2009, and obtained her certification in 2010. She feels rewarded by the work in this specialty, and has guest lectured at CSU on the topics of continence and wound cares.

Donna DeChant, BSN, RN, CCCN, CWCN, COCN

Donna received her nursing degree from Lorain County Community College in 1994, working at Fairview Hospital in Med/Surg and the Birthing Center for nine years. She returned to school in 2005 working towards her BSN which she completed in 2008. She became interested in Enterostomal Therapy after a personal experience with her son and joined Cleveland Clinic WOC Nursing department in March 2009. She obtained her certifications in Wound, Ostomy and Continence in the spring of 2010.

Jeanette Gatan, MSN, BSN, RN, CMSRN, COCN, CCCN

Jeanette received her BSN in 1992 and her Masters in Nursing in 2001. She has worked at Cleveland Clinic since 2006 and started in the Surgical Telemetry Unit. She has also worked as Clinical Instructor in the Clinic for one year. In 2012 she joined the WOC department.

Marjorie Gowen, BSN, RN, WOC Nurse

Marjorie received her BSN in 2010 and attended Cleveland Clinic WOC Nursing online education program in 2011. She joined the WOC Nursing department in December 2013 and also works part-time as a Hospice nurse.

Jill Hammond, BSN, RN, CWOCN

After completing her BSN in 2005, Jill began working with colorectal surgery patients. She joined the WOC Nursing department in 2008 and became certified in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing the following spring.

Janelle Holtz, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Janelle graduated from Kent State University in 2002 and has worked at the Cleveland Clinic since graduation. She earned her WOCN certification in 2009 and has worked both on H50-51 as a WOCN and for the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing department. She currently works PRN, mostly on Saturdays.

Tatyana Kligman, BSN, RN, CWOCN

The newest member of the WOC Nursing Department, Tatyana graduated from Tri-C with an Associates Degree in Nursing in 2005. She earned her BSN from Cleveland State University in 2009. She has worked as a WOC RN in Home Healthcare, the Skin Care Team at Cleveland Clinic, and joined the WOC Nursing Department in 2013.

Judy Landis Erdman, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Judy graduated from Ursuline College in 1979 and began her nursing career later that year on the Colorectal/Gastroenterology nursing unit at Cleveland Clinic. She joined the WOC nursing department in 1986 and first certified as a stoma nurse in 1987. In 2006 she joined the Wound Care Consult Team and returned to the WOC nursing department in 2011.

Amanda Liptak, BSN, RN, CWOCN

After graduating from Kent State University, Amanda worked on the colorectal surgical nursing floor where her interest and passion for WOC Nursing began to grow. She joined the WOC Nursing team in 2011 and was certified in the areas of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence in 2012.

Rachel Ludwig, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Rachel graduated with honors from Cleveland State University in 2010 with a bachelors of science in nursing. She has been in the WOC Nursing department since 2012. Prior to joining the WOC Nursing department she worked in the Medical ICU for three years.

Karen O'Brien, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Karen is a native Clevelander. She received her BSN from Ursuline College with honors. Prior to joining the WOC Nursing Department in 2009, Karen worked on a Medical Surgical telemetry floor at Cleveland Clinic.

Coleen Potts, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Coleen received her BSN from Cleveland State University in 2002 and in the same year joined the WOC Nursing department. She has worked at Cleveland Clinic since 1982, starting as a patient care nursing assistant. She has worked in the ICUs, medical surgical nursing and in subacute care.

Angie Roberson, CT

Angie has been employed at Cleveland Clinic since 1997. After working as a PCNA in orthopedics and psychiatry, Angie became a Clinical Technician and joined the WOC Nursing department in 2005.

Ron Rock, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC

Ron became the Nurse Manager and CNS for Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing in 2012. Ron received his BSN from CWRU and MSN from Kent State. He began his medical career 37 years ago as an original member of Cleveland EMS as an EMT/Paramedic. Ron became a nurse in 1988 and has worked in trauma, critical care, surgical and cardiac ICU’s, administration, homecare, and education. His passion for nursing and patient education brought him to Cleveland Clinic as the Clinical Instructor for Colorectal, Vascular, and General Surgery units before becoming a CNS. He is recognized as the clinical expert for managing complex surgical and chronic wounds with negative pressure wound therapy. He has lectured and presented at local, national, and international medical and nursing conferences. Ron is married with three daughters, two of whom are also nurses. He has authored several publications, was awarded the Patient Safety Champions Certificate, and The Carolyn Nieman Award for Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing.

Chizu Sakai-Imoto, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Chizu graduated from high school twice, once in Kyoto, Japan and once in, Rootstown, Ohio. She attended nursing school in Japan and Akron, Ohio and has worked at Cleveland Clinic since 1998. Before joining the WOC Nursing department in 2005, Chizu worked on a Medical/Surgical Telemetry floor. She has presented on WOC nursing topics at the national and international level, most recently at the Japanese WOC Conference in Shizuoka, Japan in May, 2013.

Adam Shaw, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Adam Shaw joined the WOC Nursing Department in 2011 and recently became the first male Certified Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse in the department's history. He began his career in healthcare as a paramedic.

Brenda Stenger, MEd, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Brenda has recently achieved the distinction of 30 continuous years of Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Certification. Brenda is a 1977 graduate of the Harrisburg Hospital Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing education program (called Enterostomal Therapy at the time) and has worked at Cleveland Clinic 22 years in the clinical and education areas for WOC Nursing. Brenda received her nursing diploma from St. John Hospital and her BSN from Kent State. She retired in 2010 but came back to the WOC nursing department in 2012 to work PRN.

Sue Sulzer, BSN, RN, CWOCN

Sue has worked at Cleveland Clinic for 16 years: eight years in the ICU and eight years as a nurse clinician in vascular medicine. She joined the WOC Nursing department in 2010, attended R.B Turnbull, Jr. MD, School of WOC Nursing, and became certified soon after. Sue recently returned to a full time position in vascular medicine and works PRN as a WOC nurse.

Different Types of Ostomies

Ostomy: The term "Ostomy" or "stoma" comes from the Greek word meaning "mouth" or "opening." An ostomy or stoma is a surgically created opening that allows waste to leave the body. Output through the stoma cannot be controlled, so a pouch needs to be worn at all times.

Ileostomy: a stoma made in the last portion of the small bowel, or ileum.

Colostomy: a stoma made from the large intestine, or colon.

Urostomy: a stoma to allow urine to bypass the bladder and urethra, usually made from a portion of the intestine. A urostomy may be made from a portion of the small bowel and then be called an "ileal conduit." When made from a portion of the large bowel, the urostomy may be called a "colon conduit."

Wearing A Pouch

The basic piece of equipment is a pouch (made of odor-resistant plastic or vinyl) that collects the semi liquid waste. The pouches attach to your body with adhesive skin barriers that are custom fitted by your WOC nurse and do not irritate your skin. A closure at the bottom of the pouch allows you to empty it without removing it from your body

You should find it reassuring that the pouch will not be conspicuous. It is small and stays flat, so you do not have to wear baggy clothes.

Opaque pouches and fabric pouch covers keep the waste from being visible when you are undressed. The use of a fabric pouch cover also makes wearing the pouch more comfortable by reducing heat build-up between the plastic pouch and your skin. Offensive odor does not have to be a worry either. Modern pouches are made of materials that confine odor to the inside of the pouch. The only time you should notice any odor is the time when you change or empty your pouch. Deodorants placed in the pouch, certain medications, and attention to food intake can control these odors.

On the first days after surgery, the WOC nurse will change your pouch for you. After a few days, you will begin to participate actively in your ileostomy care. You will start learning how to change the pouch by observing the WOC nurse.

The WOC nurse's support continues after you leave the hospital. You will see your WOC nurse when you see your surgeon at four to six weeks, six months, and one year after you leave the hospital.

Each year about 200,000 people in the United States have a ostomy surgery - people of all ages (even newborn babies), in all walks of life. There are literally millions of healthy, active people who continue to enjoy full lives 10, 20, even 40 years after their surgery.

Wearing a pouch (ostomy collecting device) is one of the biggest changes you will face after surgery. It takes some getting used to, but it is not as difficult as you might imagine. With the help of a WOC nurse and some practice, you will regain control over your life and will be able to return to most activities that you did before you were sick.

Changing a Pouch

The pouch should be changed in the bathroom. This a procedure for managing body waste, and the bathroom provides the proper environment for this.

It is not necessary to rinse the pouch every time you empty it, but you may rinse as often as you wish. For aesthetic reasons, some people with ileostomies like to rinse the pouch first thing in the morning and before going to bed.

The pouch should be changed about every three to seven days. After surgery, the WOC nurse will teach you how to do this using the equipment that has been selected to fit your needs. Step-by-step instructions will be enclosed with your discharge folder.

Returning to Daily Activities

Traveling

With a little planning, you can enjoy traveling as much as you like and where you like. Take plenty of supplies and medications along - double what you think you might need. Do not pack these supplies in luggage that you are going to check through. Carry them with you. If you cannot pack all the supplies you need for an extended trip, find out ahead of time where you can purchase them. You can get a list of equipment dealers from most manufacturers.

Physical Activity

You will be able to resume physical activity gradually after surgery. The only limits you may have to place on yourself are on very heavy lifting and contact sports, such as football, wrestling, or karate where you could receive a direct blow to your abdomen. Heavy lifting, especially in the first three months or so after surgery, could cause a hernia. But after you recover, you should have no problems lifting and holding lighter weights, like small children or bags of groceries. Talk to your doctor about how much you can lift and when.

Keeping your pouch on securely for sports is easy to do. For active sports involving running or jumping, a sport brief or close-fitting underpants will hold your pouch snugly against your body. For times when you will get wet, either from perspiring heavily from exercise, the sauna, or from being in a pool or hot tub, you can temporarily use water-proof tape to hold the edges of the pouch to your skin. Your WOC nurse can show you how to do this.

Hygiene & Skin Care

You can bathe or shower with your pouch on. As a matter of fact, you will be doing that most of the time, since you should remove your pouch only every three to five days. It is also OK to bathe or shower with the equipment off. Be aware that your stoma may function while your pouch is off, so plan a bath or shower before meals or first thing in the morning before eating or drinking.

Keeping the skin around your stoma clean is an important part of your ileostomy care. The waste that comes through your stoma contains digestive enzymes that can be very irritating when they contact your skin. If your skin does become irritated, your skin barrier will not stick as well, forcing you to change the pouch more often and permitting more irritation. When you wash around the stoma, be gentle. Use a clean, soft cloth and a small amount of non-oily soap. Do not be concerned if you see a little blood. Some bleeding is normal because the stoma has such a rich blood supply. Rinse and dry the skin well because soap or bath oil residue can keep the skin barrier from sticking. Use a hair dryer set on cool or use an electric fan as gentle ways to dry your skin.

Diet

During the first six weeks after surgery, you need to eat soft foods low in fiber to give your intestines a rest. A dietitian will give you detailed nutritional guidelines you can take home in your discharge folder.

Except for the first six weeks post surgery, you can eat almost any food you want. As always, your meals should include a sensible amount of food from the four groups every day - dairy products, meat, and other protein sources, fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals. Drink plenty of liquids. You must chew all food thoroughly.

Take care to maintain your normal weight because excessive weight gain can affect the fit and wearing time of your pouch. If you remain underweight after you resume a normal diet, you may need calorie and protein supplements. Be sure to consult your dietitian and doctor about it.

Intimacy

As you recover from your surgery and begin to resume or develop an intimate relationship, give yourself and your partner time. Try to resume or begin your sexual activity in a gradual, non-pressured way. You might try emptying the pouch beforehand. You and your partner may need to make some minor adjustments in positioning to avoid too much friction on your pouch, but contact during lovemaking cannot hurt your stoma.

General Patient Concerns
Should I get a note from my doctor so I do not have to wear my seatbelt in the car?

No. A seatbelt can be adjusted to accommodate the stoma and the pouch. Your safety far outweighs the minor inconvenience of a seatbelt.

Will medications be as effective with an ileostomy?

Medications for the ileostomate should be prescribed in liquid or tablet form. Enteric coated pills often pass through the body unabsorbed. Discuss this with your physician and pharmacist.

What if the pouch leaks and I am away from home?

ALWAYS carry a spare set of supplies in case a leak occurs.

What if water gets inside the stoma?

This will not happen. The wave-like motions of the bowel (peristalsis) move the bowel content in one direction-out of the body. Water would not be harmful, though, if it did get inside the stoma.

Will the stoma hurt when it is touched?

It will not hurt when it is touched. You will feel pressure, but not pain. For this reason the stoma must be protected from contact injury like blows or chronic rubbing or pressure. There are no pain nerve endings in the stoma.

Why is the stoma red?

It is red because this is the color of the inner lining of the digestive system. When the stoma is surgically constructed, the ileum is folded back on itself to form a type of cuff.

What do I do about odor while I use a public restroom or the bathroom at a friends home?

Do not worry about it. That is what bathrooms are for. If you are concerned about odor, you can carry a pocket-sized room deodorizer spray. Flushing of the toilet is usually adequate.

Supplies Information

Almost everyone with an ileostomy can be at least partly reimbursed by medical insurance. Have your doctor write a prescription for your supplies and have it renewed every year. Most insurance companies, Medicare, and other agencies require this evidence of your need for the supplies. Keep good records and save all your statements and receipts so you will have good tax records or evidence to follow up claims.

Because ileostomy supplies are considered prostheses, just like artificial limbs or eyeglasses, they are deductible medical expenses on income tax returns. Check yearly tax codes for specific guidelines. Be sure to keep careful, complete records of your medical expenses for a year so that you will know whether you can deduct them.

Ostomy supplies are available in surgical supply houses. Very few drugs stores carry these specialty items. Your WOC nurse should give you information about local and mail order sources of supply when you are discharged from the hospital.

Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Nursing

WOC Nursing Department
9500 Euclid Ave.
M2-105
Cleveland, Ohio 44195

Department:
216.444.6677

Appointment desk:
216.445.9552

Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday
7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Glossary
Adhesive remover

Used to gently remove pouches from the skin, they dissolve and remove adhesive residues from the skin. Skin must be washed thoroughly after using adhesive removers to prevent skin irritation. These do not contain alcohol.

Barrier Ring

A donut-shaped skin barrier that is used as caulking and to fill in peristomal dips and creases. See also: Flat Adapt™ ring , Brava™ Ring , Eakin® Seal.

Brava™ Ring or Brava™ Moldable Ring

A barrier ring made by Coloplast that is used as caulking and to fill in peristomal dips and creases.

Brown jug drainage

(see Brown jug/blue tubing drainage)

Brown jug/blue tubing drainage

A gravity drainage system pieced together using respiratory tubing, a 24-hour urine collection jug, tape, rubber bands, and hollihesive skin barrier; used when a patient has high-volume and thick ostomy output.

Clip-Closure

A drainable ostomy pouch that requires separate plastic clamp ("clip") to close the pouch. When the plastic clip from the manufacturer is not available, a binder clip is often used to clamp the pouch shut.

Closed-end pouch

Used for colostomies that function 1-2 times in 24 hours. Following a bowel movement, the pouch is unsnapped from the wafer, the waste is emptied into the toilet, and the pouch is thrown away. A fresh pouch is then attached to the flange; Generally not used while in the hospital.

Colostomate

A somewhat antiquated term referring to a person with a colostomy; WOCNs prefer to say “a person with a stoma”.

Colostomy

A stoma made from the large intestine or colon.

Continent stoma (continent ostomy)

A urostomy or ileostomy that is managed using a catheter to drain effluent; the person does not need to wear an external pouch (also see Indiana pouch, Kock pouch).

Convexity

Term used to describe a wafer that has a raised, rather than flat, adhesive surface; convexity may be soft or firm and comes in a variety of depths. Convexity is used to provide support, cause a stoma to protrude, or fill in saucering around a stoma.

Drainable pouch

Used for ileostomies and colostomies, bottom of pouch is opened for emptying. A drainable pouch is closed with either a clip or an inter-locking mechanism.

Eakin® Seal, Eakin® Cohesive Seal

A barrier ring made by Convatec that is used as caulking and to fill in peristomal dips and creases.

Effluent

Urine, stool, or other bodily fluid that comes from a stoma, fistula, draining wound or drain.

ET

Stands for “Enterostomal Therapist,” which is an older term used to describe the people who were the first stoma therapists. These original ETs were not necessarily RNs (also see “WOCN, WOC nurse).

ET/WOCN

“Enterostomal Therapist/Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse.” See also ET and WOCN.

Flange

The portion of a two-piece pouching system that adheres to the skin. The pouch attaches to the flange. Flange also refers to the plastic rings found on the wafer and the pouch of a two-piece system that allows the pouch to be attached to the wafer.

Flat Adapt™ ring

A barrier ring made by Hollister that is used as caulking and to fill in peristomal dips and creases.

Flat pouching system

The adhesive side of the wafer is level or flat as opposed to a convex pouching system; see also “convexity”.

High-volume pouch

A pouch with a spigot ending that can be attached to a gravity drainage bag; used when patients have high volume, liquid output from an ileostomy or colostomy.

Ileal conduit

A urinary stoma made using a small length of ileum.

Ileostomate

A somewhat antiquated term referring to a person with an ileostomy; WOCNs prefer to say “a person with an ileostomy”.

Ileostomy

A stoma made from a portion of the ileum of the small intestine.

Indiana pouch

A type of continent urinary diversion. Using a piece of intestine, an internal reservoir is formed. The outlet is formed in such a way as to be continent. A stoma, usually found in the umbilicus, is periodically catheterized to allow the urine to be emptied from the reservoir.

Irrigation

Daily procedure similar to an enema, used by some persons with colostomies to regulate bowel movements; special irrigation sets are made for this procedure.

Jejunostomy

A stoma made from the jejunum of the small intestine.

Kock pouch

Developed by Nils Kock, a continent internal reservoir is formed from small intestine. The flush external stoma is catheterized several times a day to empty the reservoir’s contents. It is also called a K-pouch.

Lavage

A procedure performed by the ET/WOC nurse or LIP in which normal saline is instilled into a an ileostomy to break up a food bolus obstruction.

Measuring guide

A paper tool with precut circles of various sizes used to determine stoma size.

Mucocutaneous junction

The area where the stoma tissue (mucosa) meets the skin; in surgery this area is sutured together and heals to be continuous.

Mucocutaneous separation

A gap between the stoma and skin.

One-piece pouch

The adhesive wafer and the plastic pouch are integrated together.

Ostomate

An antiquated term referring to a person with an ostomy; WOCNs prefer to say “a person with an ostomy”.

Paste

A caulking material that comes in a tube or strip; a thin layer is placed around the pouch aperture or in dips and creases to help obtain/maintain a good seal (see also: Stoma Paste, Strip Paste).

Peristomal

All around or surrounding the stoma. Peristomal skin is the area of skin around the stoma.

Powder

A pectin- or karaya-based powder used to provide a protective barrier on open skin (also called Stoma powder).

Rod

A small plastic device placed during surgery that is temporarily used to support a stoma above the skin.

Skin barrier

A material that protects the skin from the stoma output; usually a hydrocolloid-based product. Skin barriers come in sheets, strips, rings, or is applied directly to the back of a pouching system.

Stents

Small plastic tubes that are inserted into the ureters and extend out of the ileal conduit; they maintain ureter patency following surgery and usually stay in place 3-4 weeks following surgery.

Stoma

An artificially made opening in the body, from the Greek word meaning “mouth” or “opening”.

Stoma foley

A catheter that is placed into the ostomy by the LIP or ET/WOC nurse to help maintain patency.

Stoma intubation

Catheter is placed into the stoma.

Stoma paste

A caulking material that comes in a tube or strip; a thin layer is placed around the pouch aperture or in dips and creases to help obtain/maintain a good seal (see also: Paste, Strip Paste).

Stoma powder

A pectin- or karaya-based powder used to provide a protective barrier on open skin (also called Powder).

Strip paste

A thin bar-shaped skin barrier that is used for caulking and filling in peristomal dips and creases (see also: paste, stoma paste).

Two-piece pouch

A type of pouching system in which the flange and pouch are separate. The flange adheres to the skin and has a rim or lip to which the pouch is attached.

Urostomy

A stoma made to allow urine to bypass the bladder and urethra, usually made from a portion of intestine, usually the ileum; see “ileal conduit”.

Urostomy pouch

Made specifically for urine collection, this pouch has an anti-reflux mechanism that prevents urine from collecting around the stoma.

Wafer

The portion of the pouching system that adheres to the skin. In a one-piece system, the wafer is permanently attached to the pouch; with a two-piece system, the pouch attaches to the flange of the wafer.

WOC RN, WOC Nurse

Stands for wound, ostomy, continence nurse; the preferred term for the RNs who are educated in these three areas and care for patients with ostomies (see also ET).

Low Cost Ostomy Supply Information
Online Resources

Companion Magazine brings the IBD community closer together through shared inspirational stories, informative medical articles, useful advice columns and lifestyle tips.

Tanna Charbonneau shares her own experience in a personal blog.

BCAN is the only national advocacy organization devoted to advancing bladder cancer research and supporting those impacted by the disease.

A website dedicated to helping people with ostomies live their lives to the fullest.

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.

The United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA) is a national network for bowel and urinary diversion support groups in the United States.

Founded in 1968, the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) is a professional, international nursing society of more than 4,900 healthcare professionals who are experts in the care of patients with wound, ostomy and incontinence.

The Great Comebacks® Program began in 1984 under the leadership of Rolf Benirschke, with support from ConvaTec. It was designed to raise awareness of quality of life issues for people living with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer or other diseases that can lead to ostomy surgery.

A charity specifically designed for children with ostomies and their parents.

Connect with other young ostomates ages 0 to 25.

Download Information Pamphlets
Health Information Links
J-pouch Treatment Guide

This guide aids patients in understanding how a J-Pouch is created, addresses who may be a candidate for a J-Pouch, and identifies the benefits of the procedure.

Call 866.396.0850 to schedule an appointment

Download the Guide

Consultations and Referring Physicians

For Outpatient Appointments:

  • Colorectal Surgery: 216.444.5404
  • Toll free: 800.223.2273, ext. 45404

To Refer a Patient:

  • Our Referring Physician Hotline is available 24 hours a day. Call 855.REFER.123 or 855.733.3712

For Hospital Consultations:

  • Ask your physician to place a WOC Consult

Become a WOC Nurse

Cleveland Clinic's R.B. Turnbull, Jr., MD School of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing (WOC), was established as the first WOC school in the world nearly 50 years ago.

WOC nurses expertise makes them valuable not only in the hospital; but also in outpatient clinics, private practice, home care, at extended care facilities and in nursing education programs. They are in demand in colorectal surgery, urology, pediatrics, oncology and rehabilitation departments.

Learn More About Becoming a WOC Nurse

Schedule an Appointment Online

Call us for an Appointment

To find a digestive specialist for your needs, contact the Digestive Disease Institute at 216.444.7000 (or toll-free 1.800.223.2273, ext. 47000)

Same-day Appointments

To arrange a same-day visit, call 216.444.7000

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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