Advanced pelvic surgery may result in the formation of a colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy, or multiples of these stomas. Stomas may be created because of a planned therapeutic attack to eradicate cancer or manage complications arising from treatments or they may be constructed to palliate severe symptoms or life-threatening problems. In some instances, fistulae between various organs and the skin may occur. Special skills are required to meet the needs of patients with ostomies or fistulae. The often complex care presents critical challenges to nurses, particularly in today's cost-conscious health care environment where prompt hospital discharges, brief clinic appointments, and valuable but limited home care visits are the norm. The skills of the enterostomal therapy nurse are valuable in all phases of care of these patients, from preoperative to outpatient care.
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