The VA Ostomy Health-Related Quality of Life Study: Objectives, methods, and patient sample

Robert S. Krouse, M. Jane Mohler, Christopher S. Wendel, Marcia Grant, Carol M. Baldwin, Susan M. Rawl, Ruth McCorkle, Kenneth E. Rosenfeld, Clifford Y. Ko, C. Max Schmidt, Stephen Joel Coons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To present the design and methods of a multisite study of health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in veterans living with ostomies. Research design and methods: Veterans from Tucson, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles VA Medical Centers were surveyed using the validated City of Hope ostomy-specific tool (mCOH-QOL-Ostomy) and the SF-36V. Cases (ostomates) had a major gastrointestinal procedure that required an intestinal stoma, while controls had similar procedures for which an ostomy was not required. Ostomy subjects were recruited for four focus groups in each of two sites divided by ostomy type (colostomy versus ileostomy) and overall mCOH-QOL-Ostomy HR-QOL score (highest versus lowest quartile). The focus groups further evaluated barriers, concerns, and adaptation methods and skills. Main outcome measures: This report presents recruitment results, reliability of survey instruments, and demographic characteristics of the sample. Results: The overall response (i.e., recruitment) rate across all sites was 48% and by site was 53%, 57%, and 37%, respectively (p < 0.001). Internal consistency reliability estimates indicated that both instruments remain reliable in this population (Cronbach's alpha for HR-QOL domains/scales: 0.71-0.96). Cases and controls were similar in demographic characteristics. Proportions of minority subjects matched projections from the site patient populations. Subjects with ostomies had significantly longer time since surgery than controls (p < 0.001). Focus groups were comprised of two to six subjects per group and demonstrated racial diversity at the Los Angeles site. Conclusions: The unique design of our study of VA patients with ostomies is an illustration of a successful mixed methods approach to HR-QOL research. We collected meaningful quantitative and qualitative data that will be used in the development of new approaches to care that will lead to improved functioning and well-being in persons living with ostomies. Subsequent reports will provide the results of this research project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-791
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Focus groups
  • Ostomy
  • Quality of life
  • Stomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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