How to change a stoma bag
Intended for healthcare professionals
how to series    

How to change a stoma bag

Debbie Smith Salts Medilink stoma nurse, Salts Healthcare Ltd, Birmingham, England
Nicola Samways Salts Medilink stoma nurse, Salts Healthcare Ltd, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the procedure for changing a stoma bag

  • To support patients in managing their stoma care independently

  • To be aware of the complications that patients with a stoma may experience, and when to refer them to a doctor or stoma care nurse

Rationale and key points

This ‘How to’ article explains how to change a stoma bag in a safe, effective and supportive manner. Nurses undertaking this procedure must ensure they have the knowledge and skills to do so and work within the limits of their competence. The patient – and/or their carer where appropriate – should be involved in decision-making and trained in the procedure so they are eventually able to undertake it independently. This will increase the patient’s confidence and acceptance of their stoma.

• Optimal stoma care can assist in preventing leakage, skin soreness and irritation, thereby increasing the patient’s comfort, confidence and well-being.

• Understanding the different types of stoma will support the nurse in selecting the most appropriate stoma bag.

• Each patient will have different stoma care needs, which may include the need for psychological support.

Reflective activity

‘How to’ articles can help to update your practice and ensure it remains evidence-based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

• How this article might improve your practice when changing a stoma bag.

• How you could use this information to educate nursing students or your colleagues on the appropriate methods for changing a stoma bag.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11484

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Smith D, Samways N (2020) How to change a stoma bag. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11484


This article received funding from Salts Healthcare Ltd. The views expressed are solely those of the authors


Please note that information provided by Nursing Standard is not sufficient to make the reader competent to perform the task. All clinical skills should be formally assessed according to local policy and procedures. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure their practice remains up to date and reflects the latest evidence

Published online: 14 April 2020

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