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Connections for Healthcare Professionals

Welcome to Connections

Connections is a relationship support programme created by relationship therapist, Charlene Douglas, in partnership with our clinical nursing team.

This programme is designed for healthcare professionals to share with their stoma patients, providing support and guidance on how to reconnect with themselves and loved ones post-surgery.

In this video, Charlene Douglas introduces Connections and explains how the programme can support your patients in their relationships after stoma surgery.

Sign up for your free Connections pack with access to accompanying videos using the form below.

Last year, we gathered feedback from just under 800 UK ostomates, about how they had been impacted by their stomas, in particular with regard to their relationships. The results came as a concern.

  • More than 1 in 5 ostomates had difficulty maintaining relationships with their partner or spouse
  • 17% said they would have liked more help maintaining a relationship with their partner or spouse
  • Almost half (47%) received guidance on navigating relationships from their stoma nurse or hospital
  • 1 in 4 ostomates hadn’t received advice from anyone

Comments from respondents included,

  • “I still (five years on), find it very hard to have any form of intimate relationship with my bag very much in evidence. My partner says she doesn’t mind, but I do.”
  • “I feel deformed. I don’t like seeing or feeling my bag whilst being intimate.”
  • “No information regarding intimate relationship with my partner. I felt my body was now ugly. My partner felt he would hurt me. I felt really alone. Could not talk to anyone about how I felt afterwards.”

When asked what support would have made a difference, they replied:

  • “Reinforcement of positive attitude towards the future.”
  • “Speaking to a person the same as me.”
  • “Advice on how to cope with my own feelings.”

Driven by this research, our clinical nursing team has worked together with Charlene Douglas, to design a programme to support healthcare professionals in continuing to provide high standards of patient care, by creating an opportunity for open dialogue around relationships and intimacy.

To receive your free Connections pack, and for access to the accompanying videos, sign up using the form below. We’ll send you a downloadable version of the Connections booklet, but we recommend opting for the printed version, which includes extra materials designed for you to share with your patients.

Sign up to receive your free Connections Relationship Support Toolkit

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Connections