A qualitative study exploring the nurse telephone follow-up of patients returning home with a colostomy

Jun E. Zhang, Kam Yuet Wong, Li M. You, Mei C. Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. The aim of this study was to explore and describe the content of telephone intervention conversations conducted by an enterostomal nurse with patients discharged home with a colostomy. Background. People discharged home with a new colostomy often encounter stoma-related difficulties. Postdischarge care with telephone follow-up by an enterostomal nurse is a helpful way to provide support for patients and ensure continuity of care. There is a paucity of studies reporting the content of telephone follow-up of colostomy patients. Information on the content of such follow-up is important in helping to formulate telephone call protocols that can help these patients. Design. A qualitative exploratory study conducted in a university-based cancer centre in China. Methods. The contents of 25 intervention phone calls to colostomy patients from January-August 2009 were subject to qualitative content analysis. Results. Five themes emerged from the qualitative content analysis: 'education for stoma care', 'access to stoma care', 'encouraging stoma self-care', 'resuming normal living' and 'general postoperative problems'. Conclusions. Colostomy patients experienced stoma-related problems and difficulties after discharge, most of which could be effectively managed via telephone follow-up by an enterostomal nurse. The telephone follow-up satisfied patients' need for information and facilitated their adjustment to the permanent stoma. The findings suggested that patients had unmet needs after discharge and needed follow-up on returning home. Relevance to clinical practice. This study provides important information to guide practice and education. The themes extracted from the qualitative content analysis provide a useful framework to guide the nurse in discussing care with the stoma patients and ensuring patients' adjustment to the permanent stoma. Further work can be done using this framework to develop protocols as standards of care and education materials when educating nurse specialists in stoma care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1407-1415
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Colostomy care
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Telephone follow-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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