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International Ostomy Association Launches New Visiting Programme For Developing Countries

New Resources Provide Practical Guidance for Facilitating Patient-to-Patient Support
New Jersey, USA. October 7th, 2006 (World Ostomy Day) The International Ostomy Association (IOA), the global network of national associations dedicated to improving the quality of life of ostomates worldwide, today announced the availability of a new visitors programme designed for use in developing countries.

Developed in cooperation with the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists and an international panel of experts in stoma rehabilitation with support from ConvaTec, the leading global manufacturer of ostomy care products, the programme features a manual for training patient volunteers as vital members of the rehabilitation team in supporting other patients facing stoma surgery and post-surgery recovery.
Every patient who faces this type of surgery struggles with fears and anxieties that are universal, said Dielwen Bracken, To help them return to their active roles in their families and society, there is no substitute for the visual proof provided by the visit of a well-adjusted patient who has been through the same experience - yet in many countries there is no guidance on how to facilitate this process.

In many IOA member countries, such as the US, Canada and in Europe, existing ostomy visiting programmes successfully pair volunteer patients with other patients undergoing surgery within the framework of the healthcare professional team which includes physicians, nurses, social service workers and others.  Volunteers in these programmes undertake specific training on how to talk with patients and work within the local healthcare team, in some countries achieving certification for their roles.

In many developing countries, the need is even greater due to the social stigma surrounding ostomy surgery, yet there are scarce resources to write and manage such programs.  To address these issues, the global panel of experts led by Professor Katsushita Shindo, MD, PhD and Head of Kinki University Center for Health Affairs in Japan and Dott. Prof. Carlo Pezcoller from Modena, Italy sought to create culturally-sensitive materials that are easily translatable, highly practical and cost-efficient to implement.

The new manual includes,
+       Advice on setting achievable objectives for the visitor program
+       Basic visiting steps and types of visits that are helpful and appropriate, and
+       Guidelines for conducting training sessions, including specific instruction on psychological and social issues.

On behalf of the writing panel, we hope this needed resource will enable many more countries to foster visiting programs that will ultimately lead to more complete emotional as well as physical recovery for ostomy patients added Professor Shindo. We face tremendous stigmas in dealing with these diseases but together we can show that having this surgery will not keep one from having a full and happy life.
We are pleased to support this important programme with the IOA, as we share the organization's mission of improving the lives of ostomy patients worldwide, said Nino Pionati, Senior Vice President, ConvaTec. The knowledge that we can make a real difference in patients' lives is what inspires us every day in the work that we do.

About the IOA
The International Ostomy Association, an association of ostomy associations, is committed to the improvement of the quality of life of ostomates and those with related surgeries, worldwide.  It provides to its member associations information and management guidelines, helps to form new ostomy associations, and advocates on all related matters and policies.   It is organized to grow and develop while remaining independent and financially viable.

About ConvaTec
ConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.  With four key business divisions - Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence and Critical Care, and Infusion Devices - ConvaTec products support health care professionals from the hospital to the community health setting.  

ConvaTec is dedicated to helping millions of people worldwide living with an ostomy reach their full potential with the help of groundbreaking and clinically proven medical technologies. With over three decades as a leading innovator in ostomy solutions, products including ConvaTec Moldable Technology skin barriers and Adhesive Coupling Technology have raised the standard of care. Through active collaboration with end users and health care professionals, ConvaTec develops products and customer solutions that empower people living with an ostomy.  ConvaTec's professionally-trained customer information centers offer support, while the Great Comebacks® program recognizes perseverance following surgery. Our open collaboration furthers scientific advancements, and expands our product portfolio, so that people living with an ostomy can experience dignified lives with security and comfort. For more information, please visitwww.convatec.com

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