We’ve just come back from a busy three days at ASCN in Bournemouth. ASCN is the Association of Stoma Care Nurses and is the UK organisation for stoma nurses across the country. Every year they hold a conference where they can all get together to learn about new advances in stoma care, and to listen to presentations from other stoma nurses on different aspects of looking after patients with a stoma care. There were almost 500 nurses from across the UK and Ireland at ASCN this year. As part of the conference there is also a big exhibition with all the stoma care manufacturers and the Dispensing Appliance Contractors (DACs), as well as the leading stoma support charities: IA, CA, UA and Breakaway, and the Kingston Trust, which is a charity that provides grants to people over the age of 50 with an ileostomy.
This year at ASCN we were showcasing our home delivery service, as well as our brilliant odour eliminator, Na Scent. Our Territory Manager, Kerry Redman, who will be well known to many of you was there representing Bullens, along with Denise Williams-Cox who is our Sales Director, and Dan Walmsley, our Marketing Director.
There were some really interesting presentations at ASCN this year; one of the ASCN research awards was looking at the subject of early elective colostomy surgery following spinal cord injury, which is an important subject for those coming to terms with a life changing spinal cord injury. One was on how stoma care nurses can support patients through Ramadan. Did you know that Muslim patients with an ileostomy or urostomy can be excused from fasting during Ramadan due to the effects it would have on their health, and that instead they can make a donation to help feed those less fortunate, but those with a colostomy should be able to fast, but need to check with their medical professionals first. There was also a very thought provoking presentation on how one nurse dealt with a patient who was receiving palliative care, and who had not only a stoma but a learning disability as well.
One of the key note speakers was Jean Prisk from IA (the ileostomy and internal pouch support group) who had her ileostomy done sixty years ago. Back then there were no medications to treat Ulcerative Colitis, Prednisolone hadn’t yet been invented, the only treatment was bed rest, steamed chicken, and milk puddings. It’s really incredible to think how far medical science has come on in the last sixty years; nowadays we have the biological medications like Infliximab and Humira that actually target specific cells. That’s got to be more effective than milk puddings and steamed chicken!
It was really great to be able to see lots of our stoma nursing friends, as well as being able to spread the word about our fantastic home delivery service to even more nurses. We’re looking forward to next year’s conference in Glasgow.