How To Handle Running Out Of Ostomy Bags: Practical Tips And Community Support

Posted by MeetAnOstoMate

Running out of ostomy bags can be stressful, but there are several steps you can take to manage the situation effectively. Here are some practical tips shared by people with ostomies to help you navigate this challenge.

Order Online with Fast Shipping:

When you realize you're running low, your first move should be to order supplies online. Many platforms offer quick delivery options. Look for medical supply websites that specialize in ostomy products, and use expedited shipping to get the supplies to you as soon as possible. You can also contact the customer service of your preferred ostomy supply brand directly and explain your situation. They often have programs in place for urgent needs and can expedite shipping to ensure you receive your supplies quickly.

Contact Health Insurance and Suppliers:

Your health insurance company can be a valuable resource in locating nearby suppliers. Explain your urgent need and ask if they can direct you to local pharmacies or medical supply stores that carry ostomy products. Some suppliers might even provide free samples or expedited shipping in emergencies. It’s always worth asking.

Local Resources:

Sometimes, your local pharmacy or specialty medical supply store may have ostomy supplies in stock. Call ahead to check availability. If you’re in a bind, visit local hospitals or emergency rooms. While they might not always have ostomy supplies readily available, they can sometimes provide temporary solutions or direct you to nearby resources that do.

Reuse and DIY Solutions:

In an emergency, you might need to get creative. If your current bag is in good condition, consider cleaning it thoroughly and reusing it. For makeshift solutions, you can use plastic bags, freezer bags, or even tubular plastic secured with duct tape to create temporary pouches. These DIY options are far from perfect, but they can help you manage until you get proper supplies.

Seek Professional Help:

If you're unable to find supplies, contact an ostomy nurse or a home health agency. They can provide professional advice and might have spare supplies to tide you over. Joining local support groups for people with ostomies can also be a great way to find help. Members often have extra supplies and are willing to share in emergencies.

Emergency Preparedness:

To avoid finding yourself in this situation again, always keep a buffer stash of at least two weeks' worth of supplies. Create an emergency kit with all the essential items and keep it in a convenient location, such as your car, office, or a travel bag. This way, you’ll be prepared for any unforeseen delays in your regular supply chain.

Alternative Sources:

Explore non-traditional sources for supplies. Check platforms where people might sell excess supplies. Be cautious and make sure the products are in good condition and not expired. Non-profit organizations and donation closets can also be helpful. They often provide emergency supplies to those in need, sometimes for free or for the cost of shipping.

Social Media and Forums:

Don’t underestimate the power of community. Posting your situation on social media or in relevant online forums can raise awareness and prompt immediate help. Many people with ostomies are part of these communities and understand the urgency of your situation. They might offer advice, send supplies, or direct you to resources you hadn’t considered.

Advocate for Better Support:

Sharing your experiences can help raise awareness about the challenges ostomates face when it comes to accessing supplies. By doing so, you might help improve customer service and support from ostomy product companies, making it easier for others to get the help they need in the future.

While running out of ostomy bags is undoubtedly a challenging situation, these tips can help you manage until you can restock. Remember, there’s a community out there ready to support you, and with a bit of resourcefulness, you can find the solutions you need.

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister