Product and Supply Information
Finding the right type of ostomy supplies is an essential element for living well with an ostomy
After surgery you will leave the hospital wearing a particular brand of ostomy equipment, often called “appliance” or “pouching system”. Many people stay with their initial brand and live happily. However, there is more than one manufacturer of ostomy supplies as well as more than one way to purchase them. It is sometimes necessary for individuals to have ostomy products (usually the wafer) custom-fitted for their particular situation. It is suggested that you have a conversation with your Wound, Ostomy, Continent (WOC) nurse, as they are a good source of information for your products and supplier recommendations.
Click the box below for a list of manufacturers of ostomy pouching systems.
Please note: UOAA does not endorse particular products, manufacturers, or suppliers, and is not responsible for any content expressed in sponsor websites.
Here are some tips when choosing your type of ostomy supplies:
Your choice of both product type and place of purchase (suppliers) is limited only by your personal requirements, and in most cases, by your type of medical insurance. Medicare and many HMOs will impose certain restrictions on the purchase of ostomy supplies. If you are on Medicare, an important consideration in choosing a supplier is whether they accept Medicare assignment. Always check with your insurance carrier and policy to determine the details of your insurance. You may have limitations on the suppliers you can use and still receive reimbursement.
When shopping for ostomy supplies, as for any consumer product, you can shop for service as well as for price. Remember you have rights as a consumer and you can change your supplier, insurance permitting. To find supplies of ostomy products we recommend you ask your insurance company, ostomy nurse or ostomy product manufacturer.
There are three major categories of ostomy supply companies–Medical/Surgical Supply Houses, Mail-Order Companies and Pharmacies. Read more below about each and the different services they provide:
Medical/Surgical Supply Houses These companies specialize in selling all types of medical supplies. If they focus on ostomy products, they may offer special services such as ostomy nurses on staff, product recommendations, troubleshooting advice, in-stock ostomy supplies, as well as special-ordering items. You generally purchase products by shopping at their store.
Mail-order Companies These companies operate on a national level, similar to any mail-order catalog. Once you receive a catalog, you can place an order by phone, mail or on-line. Due to the large volume of supplies they sell, mail order supply houses often provide a discount on prices. They may also have ostomy experts available for consultation.
Pharmacies Due to consolidation and specialization in the industry, fewer and fewer chain pharmacies will special-order medical supplies, but some of the remaining independent stores often will provide such customized service.
Pouching systems may include a one-piece or two-piece system. Both kinds include a skin barrier/wafer and a collection pouch. The pouch (one-piece or two-piece) attaches to the abdomen by the skin barrier and is fitted over and around the stoma to collect the diverted output, either stool or urine. The barrier/wafer is designed to protect the skin from the stoma output and to be as neutral to the skin as possible.
You are not locked into any pouching system. If you are having trouble with any pouch, consult your ostomy nurse, caregiver or ostomy product supplier. Be receptive to trying a different type or brand of pouching system.
If you experience a problem with your ostomy products (defective or incompatible), contact your supplier and/or the manufacturer.
United Ostomy Associations of America
P.O. Box 525
Kennebunk, ME 04043-0525
Call us toll-free at: 1-800-826-0826.
Our Information Line hours are Monday-Friday, 9am to 3pm (Wednesday until 2pm) EST. If you have an emergency, please dial 911 or contact your local medical professional.
UOAA does not provide Medical, Mental Health, Insurance or Legal Advice.
Join our national advocacy network and take action on issues that affect the quality of life of all people living with an ostomy or continent diversion in the United States. Help UOAA make an impact on decision-makers and together we can drive change.
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