Child Ostomates

There is no difference in the actual operation for a child or an adult and all sections of this book would apply for the appropriate type of ostomy.

However, parents have to learn to cope with a very unfamiliar situation and not pass on any of their initial anxiety to their child or the rest of the family. Involve your child in caring for his or her ostomy at an early age. A child with an ostomy at a young age should be taught self care just as they are taught toilet training. The other children should be taught the difference, just as brothers and sisters are taught the difference in each other. As parents your positive attitude will enable your child to live a full and normal life and not feel in any way an invalid.

Support from other mothers and fathers is available - ask your Ostomy Society or stoma nurse for contacts. It is often helpful for the child to meet another young ostomate.

School age children obviously have a few special needs and a limited number of officials will have to be informed if the child is to have ready access to a toilet when the appliance needs emptying. The requirement to drink plenty of fluids may also need accommodating, but in general the child ostomate will not expect or need to be treated as “different”. Participation in all activities, including sports, is perfectly possible and there will probably be no need for school friends to be told of the ostomy unless your child chooses to tell them.