If you are interested in setting up a support group please contact us to receive a copy of our guide, or ask to speak to one of our volunteers who is experienced in setting up a support group.
There are support groups throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Please click here to check if there is a support group in your area.
Starting up a support group can be daunting, especially if you have never done anything like it before.
Setting up a support group brings many exciting challenges - the aim of a support group is to offer support by providing regular meetings where people can talk together in a supportive way. Having clear aims and objectives will give the group credibility, which can help relationships with nursing professionals and other organisations.
Having a colostomy can turn someone’s world upside down. As well as dealing with the effects of the condition, people need to be able to meet others who are also 'Living with a Colostomy'. The difficulty of having a stoma is that it is a very private matter and some colostomates are unwilling to tell others how they are feeling. A support group can offer a safe and confidential environment.
Providing an environment where members can talk openly about their problems and express their doubts and concerns to others who have had similar experiences is high on the agenda, as is ensuring new and experienced ostomates never feel they are on their own. Some considerations you might like to apply when setting up a support group:
Once you have considered all the options and the practical implications of setting up a support group, you should have a clearer idea of what is involved and whether you wish to go ahead with the support group.
If you know your Stoma Care Nurse well, discuss with them the idea of your group and what you hope to achieve. They may be able to suggest the way forward and how they feel new and experienced colostomates would benefit.
Set out a list of your intentions and be realistic. Decide whether you want your group to be informal e.g. a "tea and chat" group or a more structured group with visits from stoma care nurses, talks and/or question and answer sessions. Perhaps you want to invite manufacturers and suppliers along to exhibit their stoma products? Remember if you do invite speakers, check with them what they will need on the day e.g. projector and screen, audio equipment or they may be happy to bring their own.
Decide on a group name and on how you will promote it to members and professionals. A well worded poster which includes dates and times of your meetings, how regular they are and organisers contact details, can be placed in doctor’s surgeries and supermarkets - anywhere that the general public will see it.
Running a support group - however small or large - is a worthwhile and satisfying venture. The difference it can make is enormous. A support group provides a welcoming community for the ostomate who need never feel alone.
For a downloadable copy of this information please click here.
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