A Stoma is an artificially created opening in the abdominal wall for the evacuation of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract or urine when normal function is no longer possible. People with a stoma usually wear a disposable bag (known as an appliance) over the stoma attached to the abdomen to catch output.
The Stoma Appliance Scheme is a specialised pharmaceutical benefits programme administered through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. The scheme provides free ostomy appliances to Australian Medicare card holders who meet the Departments eligibility criteria. See here for more information about the Stoma Appliance Scheme.
Persons wishing to access free appliances through the Stoma Appliance Scheme must be a member of one of the 21 National Associations located throughout Australia and pay a compulsory annual Stoma Appliance Scheme Access (SAS) Fee. The SAS Fee is an annual amount set by the Department of Health for access to the Stoma Appliance Scheme. The SAS Access Fee is a compulsory fee and is payable once per financial year upon lodgement of the first request for supply of ostomy products through the scheme for that financial year. The fee is to be paid to the Stoma Association where a member usually obtains their stoma-related products.
Free ostomy supplies are available through the Stoma Appliance Scheme from Queensland Stoma Association or one of the other 20 Stoma Associations located around Australia. Members of the scheme pay a compulsory fee of $60 ($50 for valid concession card holders) to their association of choice to access the scheme. Please see our ordering page for more information about joining and ordering arrangements. For details about the location of other Associations please see www.australianstoma.com.au/Member Associations.html.
Whether or not you should tell your friends and family about your stoma surgery is an individual choice. Some people like to keep their condition private whilst others are quite open about it. Either way, it is important to remember that stoma surgery is life saving surgery and is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
The most common types of stoma are Colostomy (where the stoma is formed from the large intestine), Ileostomy (where the stoma is formed from the small intestine), and Urostomy also known as an Ileil Conduit (for the evacuation of urine from the kidneys). Other types of stoma include a Mace, Mitronoff and Chait button.
Most persons with a stoma can swim without fear of appliance leakage. Some ostomy suppliers offer a bag intended to be used during activities such as swimming but all appliances can be worn in water. Those people using an appliance with a filter may like to cover the filter with a stick on cover. Some of the newer filters are teflon coated which means that a filter cover is no longer necessary.
Having a stoma should not stop you from travelling and many of our members travel internationally on a regular basis. It is a good idea to keep a good supply of appliances in your carry on luggage, just in case your checked luggage is misplaced. Remember to precut any appliances before you go as you wont be able to take scissors onto the plane with you. If travelling internationally, contact the Association to arrange a Travel Certificate which explains your condition in several languages to assist with any Customs enquiries. For those members travelling for extended periods of time, Australia does have reciprocal health agreements in place with some countries which may cover ostomy supplies. See here for more details about Reciprocal Health Agreements.
Persons travelling through Brisbane airport may like to take advantage of the Brisbane Airport Hidden Disabilities initiative.
The Association cannot provide medical advice or assistance. If you are experiencing problems with your stoma, we advise you to contact your Stomal Therapy Nurse or General Practitioner. In case of emergency, please contact the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital