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A Guide To Living With A Stoma


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DISCLAIMER


100% accuracy at time of writing cannot be guaranteed.  A listing in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not mean it is an endorsement.  All companies listed are tried at the reader’s own risk.  All information provided is intended as a supplement to any professional help already

given.  Before acting on suggestions from anyone, ostomates are advised to check with a doctor or stoma care nurse that the course of action is suitable

for them. Whilst every care is taken, the author will not be held responsible.


HOLIDAYS








Everyone has different requirements for travel insurance, but it is essential that ostomates ensure

that the level of travel insurance cover is sufficient.  All medical history, surgery and pre-existing conditions (including stomas), etc. must be disclosed to the travel insurance company.  Otherwise

the travel insurance may be invalid, and an ostomate may find that the insurer will refuse to pay out

if a claim is made.


Likewise, always ensure that the appropriate travel insurance company confirms in writing that cover

is provided for all your pre-existing medical conditions, including a stoma.  Read the policy’s small

print, e.g. level of cover, any excess payments required on submitting a claim, any age limits

applied, exclusions, etc.

  

 Normally travel insurance does not cover loss of stoma appliances, or if you run out of stock.  In this instance, take precautions:


 




Make sure that the travel insurance policy is taken on holiday with you - in your hand luggage.


Some insurers will cover stomas, others will not.  However, times are changing very quickly, and

some may have altered their goalposts.  Book travel insurance as soon as possible after booking a holiday, as it will normally cover cancellation charges.  Shop around for the best price and cover.  

After booking travel insurance, if any medical conditions change before the holiday, ensure that notification has been made to the appropriate travel insurance company.


Many ostomates buy travel insurance from a travel agent, when they book their holiday.  In this

instance, it is important to check what cover is provided for pre-existing conditions.  Many of

these policies may exclude significant medical conditions.


It is also important to remember that, generally, comprehensive travel insurance, including

repatriation, is required for a cruise ship holiday.


Conditions imposed by travel insurance companies may include the following requirements:

























A list of Do’s And Don’ts for patients with pre-existing medical conditions has been produced by

AllClear Insurance Services.


The Colostomy Association, The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group and The Urostomy Association may be able to supply names of reputable travel insurance companies.


 

TRAVEL INSURANCE








A few sensible precautions may help prevent an upset tummy.  Always eat foods, which have been well cooked, and in hot countries, avoid foods that have been standing for long periods of time, especially burgers, sausages, shell fish, etc.  Try not to eat unpeeled fruit and raw vegetables.  Salads and fruits may also have been washed in local tap water, so it is best to avoid these as well.  Before eating, wash salads and fruit with clean water - bottled or boiled.  Take care with ice cream or cream, and do not have ice in any drinks, unless they have been made with bottled water.  


         


Even with taking precautions, a change in climate, food or water, may still upset your tummy, whether an ostomate is on holiday abroad or in the UK.  Therefore, it is a good idea to take some anti-diarrhoea medication on holiday in case of any problems.


 


Dehydration can happen as a result of diarrhoea and vomiting, as the body loses large amounts of fluids and salt.  Therefore, do not stop drinking - drink (non alcoholic) as much as possible to replace what is being lost.  Also to replace the fluids and salt lost, rehydration powders may help.  These dissolve easily in water, and can be purchased from supermarkets or chemists.


Some patients find eating marshmallows or jelly babies helps firm up the output.


Sometimes ostomates, who normally use a closed pouch, prefer to take some drainable pouches on holiday, as these can prove more convenient for an upset tummy, until the problem has stopped.


If the problem persists, seek advice from a doctor.


UPSET TUMMY








The telephone number of an ostomate’s home delivery service should be taken on holiday, as some companies may be able to deliver in the UK or abroad, if there is a real emergency.  It is important to remember that freephone numbers will not work, when dialling from another country to the UK.


Your stoma care nurse may be able to provide details of a stoma care nurse in the particular area of

the UK or the country abroad being visited.

TELEPHONE NUMBERS








If an ostomate is travelling abroad, a handy, pocket-sized, multi-lingual travel certificate can prove very useful.  This certificate states in different languages that the bearer has a medical condition.


 The certificate explains the necessary medical supplies being carried and that they must be with the patient at all times, and that the stoma patient requires a private room, with a qualified physician in attendance, should a search be necessary.  Obviously, this travel certificate can be extremely useful to facilitate passing through security and customs with your medical equipment at airports, and also in case of a body search, which are becoming more commonplace these days.  If a pouch or any ostomy equipment is selected for a search, it is best to ask politely if the content could be viewed ‘somewhere less public’.  Hopefully, airport security will respect your privacy.


It is advisable to keep the travel certificate (and the letter from your doctor) in your pocket, in case

you become temporarily separated from your hand luggage.


When travelling, the holder of this travel certificate has more confidence, and is able to explain the medical condition, whilst keeping it discreet.


Depending on the issuing company of the travel certificate, languages available are Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, English, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Middle East, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.  Some of the companies and associations,

who offer these travel certificates free to any ostomate on request, are:


Colostomy Association

Dansac

IA

SecuriCare (Medical)

TRAVEL CERTIFICATES


Lifestyle/Holidays/Ostomy Appliances


Lifestyle/Holidays/Packing


Suppliers/Travel Cover


Lifestyle/Holidays/Drinks


Diet


●   Medical approval for the journey must be obtained, if a patient has been in

     hospital during the last six months.


●   Travelling against medical advice is not permissible.  


●   Travelling to obtain medical treatment specifically is not permissible on a      holiday travel insurance policy.   


●   In general, a patient must not have received a terminal prognosis.  However,

     there are a few companies, who will offer cover subject to certain conditions,

     e.g. AllClear Insurance Services will provide cover as long as the prognosis is

     not less than six months from the date of return from holiday.  In all

     circumstances, a terminal prognosis must be declared.


●   Normally, a patient must not be waiting for hospital treatment. However,

     there are some insurers (e.g. AllClear Insurance Services) who will also  

     provide cover for people on a hospital waiting list, so that if a patient has to

     cancel a holiday because they have come to the top of the list, they can

     claim for the money they have paid for the holiday.  In all circumstances,

     waiting for hospital treatment must always be declared.  

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