CNA Training Skills: Changing an Ostomy

cna trainingCNA Training

When I first completed my CNA training, I did not have the knowledge or skills to change an ostomy bag. This area of CNA training was not covered in my course. As a result, I received this training from the nurses in my nursing home, and with a bit of paperwork filled out, I was eventually allowed to tackle the skill by myself.


It doesn’t work this way for all CNAs. Some spend more time in CNA training and are taught this particular skill. No matter what though, there is one thing for certain: knowing how to change an ostomy bag is important for both your patients and your nurses. If you have this skill, you save your nurses time, because they don’t have to take the time to train you and don’t have to perform the skill themselves each time it needs to be done.


Changing an ostomy bag is not something to be taken lightly, however. It is essential for the health of your patient.


Changing an Ostomy Bag After CNA Training


An ostomy is a procedure that creates an opening in the body to release feces and urine through a mouth-like opening called a stoma. A colostomy, which is type of ostomy, is a procedure that brings part of the large intestine through the abdominal wall. During CNA training, and after, you will learn that a colostomy is most often used to help patients who have diseases of the large intestine.


To keep your patients healthy after CNA training, you must change their ostomy bag in this manner:


  • Wash your hands. Greet your patient and discuss what you will be doing. Put on gloves.


  • Arrange all of the equipment you will need near you. You will most likely need a skin protector, pencil, wafer, adhesive remove, adhesive paste, washcloths, tub of warm water, scissors, a new pouch, plastic bags, a measuring guide, and a wafer.


  • Remove the pouch and empty it as normal.


  • Use the adhesive remover to wipe the tape around the wafer off. Placing your hand against the skin, gently remove the wafer without pulling on the patient’s skin. You may need to use more adhesive remover, like you were taught to do in CNA training.


  • Set the clip aside and place all of the waste, including the old wafer and pouch in a plastic bag so it can be thrown away.


  • With your warm water and a washcloth, clean the skin and the stoma gently. Avoid using scented soaps because these can result in a film on the skin and stoma.


  • Dry the patient’s skin, but remember your CNA training: pat don’t rub. Measure the stoma with your measuring guide and use this measurement to help you trace and cut out a new wafer of the correct size.


  • Apply a skin protector around the stoma to keep the skin safe against the wafer.


  • Spread adhesive paste on the wafer. If it clumps, wet down your finger with water and smooth it out. You can then remove any paper backing from the wafer and apply it over the stoma, ensuring, as you learning during your CNA training class, that the stoma is positioned in the center. Smooth out any wrinkles.


  • Attach the new pouch to the water and tug on it just a bit to ensure it is well-sealed.


CNA Training and Your Patient’s Ostomy


Make sure to pay attention to everything you learn, both in CNA training and in the workplace. You never know when you will have the opportunity to learn new and exciting CNA training skills.

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