When You’re in a Pinch, Here’s How to Find Ostomy Supplies

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Imagine this: You head to the cottage for the weekend and bring along a spare ostomy appliance “just in case”.  That spare is needed soon after because of a leak and you’re left with nothing extra.

In an ideal world, you should be able to get by without needing to change your appliance again before heading home – but this isn’t an ideal world and your dog decided it was a great idea to jump up on your lap, tearing your “just in case” spare.

Many would say that you’re SOL at this point, but in this article, I’ll give you some ideas to try before you head home.

Medical Supply Stores

This will be the easiest place to get supplies, assuming they are open.  If it’s the weekend, chances are they’ll will be closed, but it’ll still be worth searching for suppliers in your area to see if anyone’s open.

If you’re using Google, it may help to put the term “medical supply stores open on the weekend” or something similar to narrow down your results.

You should even be able to search on Google Maps to find suppliers in your current location.  A bonus when using Google Maps is that you’ll also get the store hours listed as well.

Durham Medical hours Google Maps - Copy
Google Maps will list store hours, which can help narrow down who’s open when you call.
Medical suppliers Google Maps - Copy
Finding a local medical supply store can be easy with the help of Google :)

Local Classified Ads

This is a great wildcard to keep handy since you may find that someone is either selling or giving away free supplies through websites like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Local classifieds for ostomy supplies
Remember to narrow down your search and use different keywords.

TIP: Don’t just search for “ostomy supplies” or “ostomy bags” when using these local listings. Some people might list these items under a brand name like “Coloplast” or “ConvaTec”, especially if they are selling supplies that belong to a family member and not products they’ve used themselves.

Hospitals/Clinics

Some people suggest trying a local hospital to see if they’re able to spare a few bags.  This will likely NOT work unless you are a current patient, but there’s no harm in calling ahead.

Social Media

What a time to be alive! Social media can not only play a huge role in finding support after surgery, but it could also save the day when you run out of supplies!

If you are using Twitter or Facebook you might have luck by simply asking followers in your area for help.

Asking for help on Twitter
There’s no shame in asking for help on social media.

You may or may not be a part of a local online group (to the area you’re visiting), but finding one and asking for help may produce some results.

Heck, I’ve even seen people ask for help through Reddit! You’ve got nothing to lose but the help of thousands of people online! Give it a shot.

Local Groups

You may be fortunate enough to be staying in a city or town that hosts local ostomy support groups.

If you can find a local group, try to contact the person(s) who organize the group to see if they might be able to help you source out emergency supplies.

Canada: You can find local chapters on the Ostomy Canada website: https://www.ostomycanada.ca/support/canadian-chapters/

USA: The UOAA has a great lookup tool here: http://www.ostomy.org/Find_a_Support_Group.

UK: You can use the lookup page on the Colostomy Association site: http://www.colostomyassociation.org.uk/index.php?p=172&pp=161

Australia: You can find a list of support groups here: http://www.australianstoma.com.au/index.php/about-us/support-groups

Prevention is Best

It goes without saying that if you can prevent this situation from even coming up then you’ll be far better off.

Even when going on a “weekend trip”, there’s no harm in bringing more supplies than you think you’ll need, so double or triple the spare wafers and bags in your emergency kit and go have fun!

Question: Have you ever been stranded without supplies? What did you do?
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2 thoughts on “When You’re in a Pinch, Here’s How to Find Ostomy Supplies

  1. I have been stuck without supplies….at the cottage. Fortunately for me the cottage was only an hour away and at 4am you can pretty much drive as fast as you want on the highway….lol Besides that, I always have 3 or 4 spare sets of things in my purse (I’ve had to change in the bathroom on an airplane, in restaurants, at friend’s houses) and I always bring enough supplies to be able to change my flange every day of my trip. Seems excessive, but I haven’t been short since :) Better to be over-prepared!

    • Sounds like you were in a “best case” scenario, Cindy! I would never leave the house without several extra bags and wafers, but after reading this question (and the responses from others) online I figured it’s best to at least go over some options ;)

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