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Aim: It is to understand the experiences of patients with stoma.
Design: Descriptive study was carried out by using a phenomenologic design.
Settings: 19 patients having a stoma for at least 3 months selected via purposeful sampling method constituted the research sample. Data were collected with “in-depth interview method” by using the “unstructured interview form”. Data were analyzed with the content analysis method.
Patients: One of the investigators interviewed face to face with the 19 patients who admitted to stoma therapy unit and urology service of an university hospital between April and December 2012.
Results: Three themes were determined. These themes are; first encounter, challenges and coping. The first encounter theme consists of shock, embarrassment and feeling despair subthemes. Challenges theme consists of four subthemes which are difficulty in daily activities, difficulty in maintaining sex-life, social isolation and economic distress. Coping theme consists of five subthemes; accepting to live with stoma, failing to accept the life with stoma, looking positively, fatalism and support systems.
Conclusion: The results of the study define that stoma influences the patients significantly and it causes emotional, physical, sexual, and social changes in their lifestyles. And also, adaptation process was different in patients who had taken social and professional support. To adapt to the life with stoma, it is recommended to receive professional support beginning in the pre-operative period and continue in the post-operative period and patients who has positive/negative experiences with stoma can take social support by joining to the support groups.