Overcoming challenges: Life with an ostomy

Sarah Popek, Marcia Grant, Robin Gemmill, Christopher S. Wendel, M. Jane Mohler, Susan M. Rawl, Carol M. Baldwin, Clifford Y. Ko, C. Max Schmidt, Robert S. Krouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Studies have demonstrated decreased health-related quality of life in patients with stomas. Methods: Using US Department of Veterans Affairs electronic medical records, veterans with stomas were surveyed using the City of Hope Quality of LifeOstomy questionnaire. Focus groups were conducted segregated by type of stoma (ileostomy vs colostomy) and quality-of-life score (high vs low). Qualitative analysis was performed on the basis of the City of Hope Quality of Life for Ostomates format of health-related quality of life (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual). The findings of the colostomy focus groups are reported. Results: Two new domains emerged: colostomy specific and health care specific. The most common domains discussed were colostomy specific, psychological, and social. The most frequently discussed colostomy-specific theme was effective and ineffective solutions to colostomy care. Family and spousal relationships were the main theme from the psychological category. The predominant social issue was sexual relationships. Conclusions: Awareness of patients' social, psychological, and medical status allows surgeons to identify those likely to have problems and devote resources to those veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-645
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • Colostomy
  • Coping
  • Quality of life
  • Stoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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