With all of our parent company’s emphasis on wound care (three publications, two major conferences, and countless seminars and webinars), it may be easy to forget Ostomy Wound Management also embraces ostomy and incontinence care, along with related skin concerns.   For my entire tenure as editor, we have designated our December issue to incontinence articles and seem to have little problem securing at least one relevant manuscript. But ostomy manuscripts, forgive the pun, are a crapshoot. Despite the fact that as long as 10 years ago, 450,000 people were estimated to be living with ostomies, that approximately 120,000 stomas are created each year (some are reversed), and that each year the number of persons with ostomies is anticipated to increase by 3%,1 the literature does not reflect many new advancements in ostomy care or products, leaving little new to report. (Please feel free to dispute that fact!)

However, greater awareness of ostomy management, postsurgical complications, and product appropriateness cannot be overemphasized. A quick PubMed search using the term ostomy reveals most recent articles pertaining to ostomies mainly address their after effects. This not-by-choice body change requires lifelong physical and emotional adjustments and personal and professional vigilance. To wit: the Can You Help section of our website (www.o-wm.com) frequently features questions from persons with ostomies and their caregivers on handling pouching and peristomal skin concerns.

To my delight, in recent months, OWM received several ostomy-focused manuscripts that deal not only with postsurgical issues, but also with the importance of presurgical education and care. Demir et al2 discuss the importance of stoma site marking before surgery if there is even the slightest chance a stoma will need to be created. Iqbal et al3 stress the value of clinician knowledge of the faith needs of Muslim stoma patients, including the potential role for a religious leader in deciding appropriate participation with regard to praying and fasting. Chang et al4 present two cases of ileostomy-related malignancy noted decades after the original surgery. All three articles underscore the value of the wound ostomy continence (WOC) nurse, the person serving as conduit between surgeon and patient, the person who proactively strives to avoid postoperative complications by immediately and continually acknowledging and addressing the hole/whole situation.

Even though the majority of ostomies are created later in life (average age approximately 68 years1), life expectancy is increasing, extending the duration of the stoma and the potential for healthcare challenges throughout a lengthened lifespan. As the bodies of persons with ostomies soften and expand, modifying the stoma field, different ostomy appliances become necessary and complications may proliferate. The WOC nurse will remain a fixture in the ongoing care. OWM takes pride in providing the latest research for clinicians who know they can turn to our O for optimum, evidence-based information.

This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.