As Bowel Cancer Awareness Month kicks off, the Southern Trust’s Stoma / Coloproctology Team is highlighting a number of developments to improve services for patients with bowel conditions.

The team, which comprises four stoma / coloproctology nurses, works across Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals, supporting patients with a range of bowel conditions and their families from diagnosis, during their treatment and throughout their recovery.

The recently hosted their annual open day for stoma patients in which 160 people from across the area attended the event to meet with representatives from stoma manufacturers and view the most up-to-date products for ostomy patients. The main charities, including the ileostomy colostomy associations and the colorectal / stoma nurses were on hand to advise and chat to patients, carer, and families about the latest developments in stoma care.

Adding to the strength of their services, the trust has also recently appointed a new colorectal cancer nurse, Fiona Keegan, to the team to ensure that everyone diagnosed with a colorectal cancer has access to a key worker who will make sure that they receive the best care and treatment to meet their own individual needs and choices.

The role is funded by the Health and Social Care Board in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support as part of a regional clinical nurse specialist workforce expansion programme across Northern Ireland.

Welcoming Fiona to the team, Esther Gishkori, Director of Acute Services for the Southern Trust, said, ‘Our stoma / colorectal nursing team are greatly valued by patients for the high quality clinical care and compassion they offer during what can be a very difficult time – receiving a colorectal diagnosis and for many a stoma.

‘With 221 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancers last year in our area, a dedicated specialist for this large group of patients is a great benefit to our stoma / colorectal team. It has been demonstrated that having the support of a clinical nurse specialist has a very positive impact of people’s experience of care.’

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