Home Skills Program for Colostomy/Ileostomy Patients

Patients and families have a great responsibility for their surgical recovery. The American College of Surgeons Division of Education Surgical Patient Education Program provides the knowledge and skills needed to support patients during their continued postoperative care. This patient education program provides the opportunity to learn and practice crucial skills needed for optimal recovery. The program reviews the ostomy procedure, emptying and changing a pouch, problem solving and emergencies, and home management tips.

This program is made possible in part by the generous support of an education grant from Coloplast Corp.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the daily care needed for a colostomy/ileostomy.
  • Name the basic equipment that is used for ostomy care.
  • Describe the steps for ostomy home care including: how to empty and change a pouch, how to measure and cut a pouch, and basic problem-solving skills.
  • Identify how to manage common ostomy problems including: irritated and red skin, barrier not sticking, dehydration, inactive stoma, stoma bleeding, stoma prolapse, and stoma retraction.
  • Describe how to manage everyday activities including bathing, exercise and traveling.

Course Outline

  • Your Colostomy/Ileostomy
  • Ostomy Skills
    • Measuring and Cutting a Pouch
    • Emptying and Changing a Pouch
  • Problem Solving and Emergencies
  • Home Management and Other Resources
  • Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion

Target Audience

  • Patients requiring a colostomy/ileostomy
  • Family members/caretakers of patients requiring a colostomy/ileostomy


If you have any questions about this skills program, contact surgicalpatienteducation@facs.org.

If you have any technical questions, contact learning@facs.org. 

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Certificate of Completion
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Ostomy Task Force

H. Randolph Bailey, MD, FACS
Colon and Rectal Surgery
The Methodist Hospital
Houston, TX

Teri Coha, APN, CWOCN
Pediatric Surgery
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Chicago, IL

Janice C. Colwell, RN, MS, CWOCN, FAAN
Ostomy Care Services
University of Chicago Medicine
Chicago, IL

John Easly
Patient Advocate
Ostomy Support Group of DuPage County
Clarendon Hills, IL

Kathleen G. Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN®)
Mt. Laurel, NJ

Ann Lowry, MD, FACS
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Fairview Southdale Hospital
Minneapolis, MN

Mike McGee, MD, FACS
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Chicago, IL

Marletta Reynolds, MD, FACS
Pediatric Surgery
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Chicago, IL

David Rudzin
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc.
Northfield, MN

Nicolette Zuecca, MPA, CAE
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN®)
Mt. Laurel, NJ

Patient Education Committee

Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC
John M. Daly, MD, FACS
Frederick L. Greene, MD, FACS
Marlon A. Guerrero, MD, FACS
B.J. Hancock, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Mary T. Hawn, MD, FACS
Dennis H. Kraus, MD, FACS
Michael F. McGee, MD, FACS
Jane E. Mendez, MD, FACS
Lena M. Napolitano, MD, FACS
Leigh A. Neumayer, MD, FACS
Terry Sarantou, MD, FACS
Jonah J. Stulberg, MD, FACS
Beth H. Sutton, MD, FACS

ACS Surgical Patient Education Program

Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC

Assistant Director
Kathleen Heneghan, PhD, MSN, RN, PN-C

Nancy Strand, RN, MPH

Program Administrator
Amanda Bruggeman

A Certificate of Completion/Certificate of Participation will be awarded for this course.

This activity is not eligible for CME or CE credits.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Certificate of Completion
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