Sensational Seminar


Over two hundred and sixty registrants joined us on Saturday the 9th March at the Gold Coast’s Southport Sharks function centre for the Gold Coast Ostomy Association’s inaugural Ostomy Seminar.

Attendees included guests from Melbourne, Griffith and Lismore NSW, the Sunshine Coast as well as Mackay, Brisbane, Toowoomba and other locations. Perhaps the most pleasing guest component was over sixty regional and local nurses with a declared interest in expanding their education and knowledge of the specific nursing skills needed for ostomate care.

The appliance companies were well represented with their colourful product displays and exhibits a resounding hit with guests. Considerable interest was also focused on local manufacturer Knightwear which fashions ostomate undergarments.

Guests were treated to a comprehensive day of outstanding guest speakers, a warm and hospitable social environment all complimented by a tantalising array of goodies for the tea breaks and buffet lunch.

The object of this first effort at such a large scale event, revolved around our desire to give Association’s members, interested parties and other guests, a dissemination of valued information and material designed to improve their understanding of ostomy management and welfare.

In addition, one of our specialist speakers delved into the emotional and psychological aspects of chronic bowel and bladder disease coupled with a subsequent ostomy.

The Association’s Committee is dedicated to lifting ostomy welfare standards whenever and wherever possible. The concept of a regional seminar provided the ideal vehicle to educate, explore and deliver relevant material.

Our assembled specialist speaker line up comprised:

ACSA President Peter McQueen who opened proceedings with a comprehensive analysis of the national Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS), its workings and value to Australia’s ostomates.

Peter also detailed the representative link work performed by ACSA with the federal government in the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Scheme, its role in product listings and protecting ostomate interests. He concluded by stressing the importance of ostomate Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in ensuring the stability of the Scheme, namely;

- Keep reserve stocks to guard against contingent stock outs (three to four weeks supply usually adequate). - Do not stockpile goods as this escalates the Scheme’s costs and may well compromise its operation. - Keep requisitions within the approved monthly maximum allowances.

If extenuating ostomy conditions dictate extra supplies each month, obtain the stipulated authority from the Stomaltherapy Nurse after a full assessment of the suspect condition.

Margaret Allan a Melbourne based diet and nutrition expert, gave an instructive talk on maintaining a balanced food intake and achieving a healthy diet. Margaret pitched her talk around the particular nutritional needs of ostomates where radical bowel or bladder disease and subsequent surgery, has impacted on our digestive and waste systems.

Colo-rectal surgeon Dr Mark Doudle (eminent South East Queensland surgeon) along with Professor Les Bokey (Sydney based) our keynote speaker, took centre stage for the mid morning session

Dr Doudle gave a studied and at times graphic talk on the incidence of hernias after colo-rectal surgery, current remedial methods and the inherent problems in dealing with hernia conditions.

Seminar keynote speaker Professor Bokey then captivated the audience with a marvellous walk down the Ostomy Hall of Fame. He focused on such luminaries as Professor Bryan Brook, Sweden’s Nils Koch, both of whom perfected ostomy surgical techniques back in the fifties and sixties. The Professor highlighted the discoverer of the revolutionary Karaya gum which so advanced appliance product development.

He drifted to other marvellous surgeons and individuals whose discoveries resulted from ‘ Simple Observations ‘, but which dramatically impacted and changed

the course of surgical techniques, thereby leading to increased well being for ostomates. Such distinguished names as the Cleveland Clinic’s surgical mentor Rupert Turnbull and Norma Gill widely acclaimed as the mother of stomaltherapy nursing.

The general post seminar consensus being that Professor Bokeys’ keynote address was a very special and privileged treat. The fact that Professor Bokey had either worked, or been associated with these distinguished persons during his professional career, gave added lustre to his presentation.

‘Life after Illness ‘was tackled by Brisbane’s Emotional Balance director Nic Marcon who examined coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with illness, depression, grief and anxiety. In particular, these conditions as they stem from chronic illness and life changing surgery. His talk was thought provoking and reassuring and seemed to resonate with an enthralled audience.

Stomaltherapists Elaine Lambie (AASTN President at the time) and Bill Tyrrell (noted northern NSW rivers identity) completed the day’s speaker list as they dealt with appliance selection and applications. The importance of regular stoma reviews was stressed as essential ongoing maintenance and well being.

Elaine ventured into the academic role and development of stomaltherapy nurses in Australia, the changing nature of the profession over many decades and the need for more stomaltherapists to service growing numbers of ostomates.

In summary, the Gold Coast Ostomy Association’s initial seminar was hailed a huge success. The project was strongly aligned with our overall aim of working vigorously towards maintaining the best possible standards of ostomate welfare and management for members, and a legitimate use of membership funds.

Feedback has been most favourable and complimentary and fully justifies the significant cost outlay in staging the event. Committee views this expense as consistent with of our regional charter of ongoing education and support for ostomates.The project’s success is a firm indication that the GCOA may well contemplate a similar type project in future years.