Some ostomates are challenged when it comes time to empty their bag, finding it frustrating to get completely clean. This can be especially difficult for caregivers and ostomates with limited mobility. Can the OPODD (One Pass Ostomy Draining Device) help? We’ll find out in this review.
The product used in this review was provided to me by the manufacturer as a sample. I’ve known about this product for many years, but never had a chance to try it out – until now!
About the OPODD
The OPODD is manufactured by UPTT Inc. out of Mount Pearl, NL in Canada.
The idea behind it is simple: it allows ostomates and/or their caregiver to easily empty the contents of an ostomy bag in one pass.
The product itself is made of two rollers that come together and locks into place on one side. You can then slide the device down your drainable bag to empty the contents.
It does feel durable enough to last many years, but as with many plastic products, you’ll want to be careful not to be too rough with it.
While this product does have utility, I must stress that it’s not a necessity for most ostomates.
It does appear to offer more benefits to caregivers and nurses, who may be in a more awkward position to empty an ostomy bag.
Using the OPODD
If you’re an ostomate who has liquid output, then this product is unnecessary since the contents of your bag will fall out without any real effort. Ileostomates and colostomates with thicker stool would benefit more from this product.
- First, you would unclip one side of the device which allows the two rollers to separate.
- While standing/sitting/kneeling/laying in front of your toilet or bedpan you place the OPODD across the pouch horizontally. You can only go up so far, but it usually only goes up to the bottom of the flange/opening.
- After clipping the device, you’ll want to open the bottom of the ostomy bag.
- The instructions say to fold the bottom of the pouch outlet (this only works on pouches with clips and “flimsy” openings).
- With the pouch outlet open, you simply slide the OPODD down until you reach the end of the bag (but not too far down!).
- At this point, I remove the device, clean my pouch outlet and close it up again.
These instructions are the same for both someone who’s emptying their own bag and for a caregiver emptying the bag of an ostomate.
According to the manufacturer, this process should remove approx 99% of the contents of the bag. I would disagree with that percentage, but it does get rid of a lot.
While the OPODD is easy to use, I found a few cases where it can be a challenge to use.
Closure type matter (sometimes)
The easiest type of bag to empty using this device are bags that use clips. That’s because the entire length of the bag is smooth and you don’t run into any real problems (although it does make it easier to slide the OPODD too far!).
When I’m using a “lock and roll” type system, the rollers sometimes get caught up in fasteners.
While it’s easy enough to manoeuvre the OPODD or remove it completely and empty the remaining portions of the bag, this adds an extra step to the process.
I will say that after testing many different bag types, the OPODD does accommodate most pouches without any trouble at all, including the one I’ve just described.
It misses everything above the stoma
If you use the OPODD as instructed, you may not be able to get rid of stool that’s “pancaked” around and above the stoma. One way to remedy this is to push that stool down before attaching the OPODD to the bag.
My preferred method of dealing with this problem is to rinse my bag out with water from a squirt bottle, but that eliminates the need for using the OPODD altogether.
Doesn’t work well when you’ve got a full bag
Ideally, you’ll want to use this product when your bag is less than half full. If you try to use it on a full bag, or a bag that’s got some gas in it, you won’t be able to close it properly (at all).
Patients with limited dexterity
While there are benefits to using this product if you’re a patient with limited mobility, it may pose more of a challenge if you have trouble with your hands.
If you are positioned over a toilet or bedpan and the OPODD slips while you’re clipping/unclipping it, it may end up falling into it. It hasn’t happened to me personally, but knowing that some ostomates do lose bag clips the same way, so I can’t help but feel this would put someone in a similar situation.
Going too far
This has happened to me, despite being extra careful, but I’ve had the OPODD slip past the end of the outlet a few times. Oops!
As you can imagine, it ends up soiling the OPODD in the process.
May add complexity to the process
I personally don’t have any trouble emptying my bag. I’m able to do it quickly and efficiently without the need for a device like this. So when I’m emptying my bag using the OPODD, I find it adds complexity to something that’s normally easy for me.
That said, I’m not every ostomate and I’m not emptying someone else’s bag, so while it may add complexity to my routine it’s likely to make things easier for another patient or caregiver.
Where It Excels
I don’t want the points I’ve made above to be the end of the review since there are several benefits that come with this device that should be noted.
I do believe that caregivers would gain the most benefit by using this product. Emptying an ostomy bag while facing someone isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but I can see this being really convenient in this scenario.
If you’ve ever tried to empty your bag after it’s gotten wet, you’ll know how difficult it can be. I usually find it nearly impossible to get my fingers to slide down the bag after getting out of the shower.
The OPODD makes quick work in this situation.
Fellow ostomate Heidi from Ostomy Outdoors made several wonderful cases where the OPODD really made her life a lot easier.
From emptying her bag outdoors in the dead of winter with gloves on to emptying while camping (and being eaten alive by bugs), she says the OPODD is one of her favourite ostomy accessories.
You can check out her glowing review HERE.
As I’ve stated before, I don’t believe this product is a necessity for most ostomates out there, but I do think it can benefit certain ostomates and/or their caregivers.
At the time of this writing (Sept 2016), the OPODD sells for $19.99 (Canadian and US) and ships around the world, although I would imagine that shipping costs would be calculated depending on where you live.
It’s unlikely that private insurance would cover this device (know mine won’t), but it’s not very expensive considering you can use this indefinately.
I can’t recommend this product to all ostomates, but I would definitely say that caregivers should have a look at it. While it’s not a perfect solution to emptying an ostomy bag, it can make the task easier for many.