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If you’ve had a colostomy, an ileostomy or a urostomy, you may worry about travelling. Prepare for travel with a stoma with these handy tips.
Does the thought of travelling make you concerned? Maybe you’re worried about not having a clean place to change your pouch? Or stressed about possibly running short on your ostomy products or losing them in transit?
There’s a great solution for those worries and many others: preparation. Preparation will put your mind at ease and you’ll quickly realise that you can indeed travel– not just a few miles from home, but anywhere in the world.
Prepare for your next trip with the following guidelines.
Prep tip #1 – Create a checklist: Don’t wait until the day before your trip to make a list of supplies. Make it a few weeks before, in case you need to order more. Count the number of pouch changes you would normally need to make and then double the number. That way you’re ready for anything, even the unexpected. That’s especially important on cruise trips, where you won’t have access to suppliers (you may even want to pack a little more). Travel delays, lost ostomy supplies or frequent changes due to hot climates won’t be a problem either. Items to bring may include:
Prep tip #2 – Have a backup plan: Even if you pack more than you think you’ll need, anything can happen. The good news is that most manufacturers have products available around the world. Before you leave home, ask your ostomy product manufacturer for a list of suppliers near your travel destination. You can also contact the regional organizations listed below to get information on where to obtain products abroad, or at ports of call on a cruise:
It’s also a good idea to find out where the nearest medical facility is, and have your emergency contact information ready.
Prep tip #3 – Get an ostomy travel certificate in the language of your choice: This should explain why you need pouches, skin barriers, and medications to customs and security personnel at checkpoints. The certificate is also helpful if you need supplies while traveling internationally. Even with such documentation, it’s also a good idea to have a letter from your Stomal Therapy Nurse (STN) explaining your medical condition.
Prep tip #4 – Check your travel insurance: Some policies may have age or pre-existing medical condition limits. Be sure you are fully covered before you leave. Check with your insurance or travel agent to avoid any unwanted surprises.
Prep tip #5 – Make a final change: It’s a good idea to change your skin barrier and pouch just before you leave your home. This minimises the possibility of leaks and gives you a boost of confidence as you venture out.
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