Mini Guide to Ostomy Supplies: Ostomy Wafers

Author: Vegan Ostomy

Now, this video isn't intended to be a how-to video, I just want to try and explain what these products are typically used for. Now, an ostomy wafer can also be referred to as a baseplate, and some people call it a flange, is the part of the appliance that sticks to your skin. These will either come pre-attached to your pouch, called a one-piece appliance, or separate like the one I have here, and this is called a two-piece. There are a couple of differences between brands, and as you can see here, this is a Coloplast Assura Extended Wear wafer. This actually has belt loops built into the wafer. Other products might have the belt loops in a different spot, perhaps on the pouch to help keep things secure; some of them have two loops and some have four, it's a matter of style, but they all function in the same way. The adhesive part of the wafer comes in two different styles. You'll see a flat style used for most ostomates, but for some people who have a flush or recessed stoma, they tend to use convex wafers.

Convex wafers have a bit of a bulge to them, and they push on the skin around the stoma so that the stoma can output properly or better so that there are no leaks under the wafer. For some people, this is the only way to wear a wafer without getting leaks, so this is a good option if you have a recessed or flush stoma. Wafers will generally come in two styles depending on whether you need a pre-cut or a cut-to-fit style. The one that I'm holding in my hand is a cut-to-fit, and what that means is that I have to make the hole to fit my stoma through. That can come in handy if you have an irregularly shaped stoma, or if you're out of surgery and you know that your stoma will be shrinking in size, it's best to invest in the cut-to-fit-, because then you can adjust the size of that hole every time you change your appliance. I should also mention that there's a third option for ostomates, specifically ostomates who have had problems with leaking, and that's the moldable wafer. There are a few major companies out there that have their own versions of this (like ConvaTec and Hollister), but what these aim to do is they allow you to put on your wafer and size the hole to the size and shape of your stoma without having to cut it and without having to get one that's pre-cut.

One of the advantages to moldable wafers is obviously the fact that you get a custom fit around your stoma. This eliminates any problems that may occur if you improperly cut your wafer or if you have a hole that's slightly too big, or even slightly too small in the pre cut versions. So if leaking has been an issue for you, you might want to check to see if you can get samples of these moldable wafers from whichever supplier you're using. I get into the habit of measuring my stoma every time I change my appliance, and that includes tracing a hole on my wafer to the right size, and then trimming it and prefitting it first, without removing the release liner to make sure that everything fits. Once I know that the hole that I've made for my stoma is cut perfectly, then I can remove the release liner from the back of my wafer, and apply it to my skin. Most manufacturers will suggest holding the wafer to your skin after you've applied it, so that the adhesives can get warm and really bond to your skin better. Some people prefer pre-warming their wafers before they actually put it on, and for some people that might be as easy as sticking it under their armpit and others might use a hair dryer on a low setting.

I try to use friction and I'll rub my wafer until it gets really nice and warm and then I'll apply it on. For some people who are using tape-border wafers, like on Hollister products, they might find that they don't need to preheat their tape because it sticks really well, but they'll still hold the appliance to their skin for a little bit just so that the inner portion of their wafer will bond properly next to the stoma and the skin around it. A question that many people ask about wafers is: "What's a good wear time?". I've seen ostomates that have had wear times less than a day all the way up to 7 days, and there's just so many variables when it comes to wear time, that it's really difficult to give any kind of accurate recommendation. I know that a lot of stoma nurses will say "try to get 3 to 5 days, and that's what you want to aim for", but then I speak to people overseas who perhaps have their supplies paid for already, and they may be advised to change their appliance every day or other day. I think that helps to contribute to better skin health, and it cuts down on the amount of other supplies that might be needed to prevent things like leaks and irritation and to keep the wafer on better. So, it's really up to you. Now, when I take my wafer off, I always inspect the erosion around the hole that I've made.

Mini Guide to Ostomy Supplies: Ostomy Wafers

One reason for that is if I find that I'm getting too much erosion or more than I would have expected in a certain timeframe, then I might need to add another product, perhaps a barrier ring or stoma paste in order to extend the life of my wafer. Two-piece ostomy appliances tend to come in multiple coupling styles. This one here is a mechanical coupling, but you can also find ones that have adhesive both on the pouch and the wafer, and they both stock together to form a bond.

You may also find some appliance with locks on them, some that just snap into place, so there's actually quite a few options when it comes to these two-piece wafers. I've got a link where I explain the differences between the options that are on two-piece wafers, and I'll include a link below for that. If you're concerned about having animal ingredients in your ostomy supplies, wafers are products that you really need to watch out for. I find that a large part of ostomy manufacturers will actually use gelatin in their wafers, and others will use pectin or a chemical base instead. I've put together a list of vegan and non-vegan wafer products in a resource page that I'll include a link below for, but if that is a concern for you, or you're a vegan that wants to stay away from animal products, then the resource page will help guide you to manufactures that don't use animal ingredients in their wafers. Thanks for watching guys! If you like the video and you want to see more like it, please subscribe to the channel, give it a like and share it if you think that someone else might be able to benefit.

Until next time, I'll catch you later. Have a great day!.

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