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Supporting your loved one

It is important for the well-being of the spouse or significant other that he/she accepts help from other family members and friends. The spouse or significant other may experience unexpected feelings of loss, anger,isolation or denial. Unresolved issues from the past may also arise, adding more stress. Talking to an ET nurse, social worker or trained visitor as well as trusted relatives and friends, and seeking help from a SASO representative in the local chapter can give you much needed emotional and practical support. Qualified suppliers of ostomy supplies may also be able to provide helpful advice. Self-care is an essential part of healing and gaining self-worth, for both the ostomate and the spouse/ family. Support from other SASOs, who understand the concerns, expectations and ways of coping, is important. Caregivers, who are often SASOs, have a responsibility to look after their own physical, emotional and mental or spiritual health so that they are better equipped to help the person with the ostomy. The SASO plays a key role in helping the ostomate adjust and develop coping skills to manage his or her ostomy independently. The spouse or significant other walks with the ostomate during the learning process by sharing understanding and offering support. A positive attitude and open communication between the spouse or significant other and the ostomate will encourage a successful recovery from ostomy surgery. People heal at different rates and patience is essential in the healing process. All concerns with regard to feelings and management of the ostomy need to be discussed in a caring and loving manner.
United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. Suite 501, 344 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M5S 3A7 Phone: 416-595-5452 Fax: 416-595-9924 Toll Free: 1-888-969-9698 Email: Website:

United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc.

SASO Support Group

(Spouses And Significant Others)

Printing of this pamphlet was made possible by financial support from Lawtons Drugs

Your local chapter is

Telephone Email Website SASO Contact

Information for spouses, families, friends and caregivers of a person with an ostomy

A Non-Profit Canadian Charitable Organization 2013

What is the Spouses And Significant Others (SASO) group?

The Spouses and Significant Others (SASO) Group involves spouses and significant others, who are willing to share their experiences of living with or being involved with an ostomate. Significant Others includes partners, parents, other family members, close friends and caregivers of someone with an ostomy. For convenience spouses and significant others are referred to as SASOs.

What about particular concerns?

The following information is general in nature. For specific concerns, seek medical advice from a surgeon or an ET nurse or family doctor. For other concerns speak to an UOAC trained ostomy and/or SASO visitor. During the adjustment period after ostomy surgery, the spouse or significant other may have a number of questions concerning diet, intimacy, activities and travel. Diet: Following recovery from ostomy surgery, most ostomates may eat a regular diet. Initially, it is recommended to serve small portions of food and introduce new foods slowly. Discuss specific concerns with your ET nurse, hospital dietician, surgeon or family doctor. Intimacy: Intimate relations can usually be resumed once the ostomate has recovered from surgery. Ostomy surgeries affect men and women in different ways. Discuss specific concerns with your surgeon or ET nurse or family doctor. Activities: When recovery from surgery is well advanced, many normal activities may be resumed provided there are no other medical conditions to be considered. Most ostomates can safely participate in active hobbies and sports. Travel: Travel is not a problem for most ostomates, however, sufficient supplies will be needed for the duration of the trip.

The United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to assisting all persons facing life with gastrointestinal or urinary diversions by providing emotional support, experienced and practical help, instructional and informational services through its membership, to the family unit, associated caregivers and the general public.

How will SASO help me?

The spouse or significant other is paired with another SASO, of approximately the same age, who has had a similar experience of living with someone with an ostomy. A SASO volunteer may be able to help and suggest ways to deal with some of the concerns regarding life with an ostomate. Some local chapters also offer support group sessions, including ones for spouses and significant others of ostomates, where mutual concerns are discussed.

Application for UOAC Membership

Yes, I want to join: q Chapter - dues assigned by chapter q National - $39.00/year q International - $42.00/year q Healthcare Professional - $50.00/year q Corporate - $150.00/year

Where to go for more information?

At the hospital, ask the enterostomal therapy nurse (ET) or social worker or Home Care nurse for information about the local ostomy chapter or association. When you contact the local chapter, ask for a trained ostomy and/or SASO visitor to speak with you. If this is not possible, contact the United Ostomy Association of Canada (UOAC ) at the address or telephone number on the back of this brochure for information and support.

Name Address

City Province Telephone Email Postal Code