Grant Application

Jessica Johnston, BSN, RN, CWON, Yvonne Weideman, DNP, RN, CWOCN, and Peggy Hayden, DNP, RN, NEA-BCUPMC Passavant–McCandless

Proposed Innovation

Adapting to life with an ostomy — an opening made via surgery to allow waste to exit the body through the abdomen — can be challenging for patients. At UPMC Passavant and hospitals across the country, ostomy patients traditionally learn to manage their ostomy, prevent complications, and cope with body image and lifestyle changes during their hospital stay following surgery.

With shorter hospital stays, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure patients have the support, knowledge, and skills to enjoy the best quality of life once they’re discharged. The goal of this project is to empower ostomy patients through a new teaching and support model that begins before a patient’s admission and continues after discharge.

Improvements in Action

The Comprehensive Ostomy Patient Empowerment (COPE) model is a uniquely comprehensive ostomy program. It is designed to extend the traditional teaching and support model by including a presurgery “prehabilitation” session with follow-up telehealth visits.

During prehab, patients will be introduced to ostomy management and self-care through a hands-on, in-person teaching session prior to admission. This includes practicing with the pouch and even taking it home to wear. A follow-up telehealth visit 24 to 48 hours later will be used to review and assess the patient’s ability to care for the pouch and participate in televisits. In the hospital following surgery, the Ostomy Department will continue teaching the patient about stoma care and pouch changes, diet, ordering supplies, and recognizing complications. A follow-up telehealth visit 30 to 60 days after discharge will assess the patient’s competency and identify problems.

Intended Outcomes

The COPE program model will provide patients with ongoing education and support through multiple encounters with UPMC Passavant’s Ostomy Department. This continuum of care is expected to increase patient confidence and ability to manage their ostomy and lead to an improved quality of life.