Ostomy Supplies and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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Seeing as toilet paper and hand sanitizer has been in short supply due to a considerable amount of “panic buying”, it’s reasonable for anyone using medical supplies to have some concerns.

Introduction

Having an ostomy means that we are dependent on ostomy supplies, so any disruption due to insurance, manufacturing changes, or a global pandemic can cause a significant amount of stress and uncertainty.

While I have not personally experienced any trouble getting supplies here in Ontario, Canada, I know that these concerns still exist to the millions of ostomates out there globally.

In this article, I hope to at least relax some of the concerns that most of you have in regards to how COVID-19 could impact you.

Ostomy Product Manufacturers

I’ve reached out to some of the most popular ostomy product brands to see what they have to say about ostomy supply continuity, and here’s what I’ve received so far.

Please note that these companies serve an international community of ostomates and specific governments may have their own lock down or import/export restrictions that could have an impact on the supply chain.

These statuses may change, so please check in from time-to-time.

(Updated March 24, 2020)


B. Braun (as of March 20, 2020)

During these difficult times, we want you to rest assure that you will be able to continue to receive your B. Braun products without any interruptions. We have plenty of stock. If you require any assistance or samples from B. Braun Canada please feel free to reach out to us via email, ProductSupport@bbraun.ca. Please stay safe. ~B. Braun Canada”


Coloplast (as of March 19, 2020)

Currently, the Coronavirus is not impacting our ability to supply our medical devices to customers across the globe, and we encourage all customers to continue to order regular supply quantities to avoid hoarding. (Coloplast US)

Currently, the Coronavirus is not impacting our ability to supply our medical devices to customers across the globe , and we encourage all customers to continue to order regular supply quantities to avoid hoarding.  (Coloplast Canada)

You can read their US statement HERE and their Canadian statement HERE.


ConvaTec (as of March 13, 2020)

An internal team has been established which is regularly assessing the impact, developing potential mitigating actions, and sharing the output with the ConvaTec leadership team. At this stage we are confident we will continue to provide customers with the vital ConvaTec products they need. The impact to our global supply chain is constantly being assessed due to the dynamics of this virus. At present we have minimal impact from the current COVID-19 situation.

….

Our Ostomy products, whether produced by ConvaTec or in partnership with outsourced partners, are not manufactured in countries with high levels of reported cases of Coronavirus, (e.g. China, South Korea, or Italy.)

You can read their full statement HERE.


Cymed/SMP (as of March 16, 2020)

At this time, we are fully functional.


Dansac (as of March 13, 2020)

At this time, we do not anticipate any impact to our ability to supply our ostomy products to our current customers or others in need.

You can read their full statement HERE.


Eakin (as of March 19, 2020)

  • We are holding good levels of materials to manufacture the products you depend on for many months to come
  • We continue to meet the full supply requirements of all our customers across the world, working very closely with our suppliers and shipping partners

You can read their full statement HERE.


Hollister (as of March 13, 2020)

At this time, we do not anticipate any impact to our ability to supply our ostomy or intermittent catheter products to our current customers or others in need.

Their full statement can be read HERE.


Marlen

Waiting for a reply.


Nu-Hope (as of March 19, 2020)

While Nu-Hope hasn’t officially said that their supply chain has not been interrupted has confirmed with me through Instagram that their products have not been interrupted, they did offer this advice on their Facebook page:

It is our recommendation that ostomates keep at least 1 box of spare pouches at all times. (This recommendation is independent of the COVID-19 outbreak). We do not recommend stockpiling supplies as this will stress the supply chain and likely cause delays and disruptions to your regular orders. Nu-Hope offers ½ boxes for sale through certain dealers, please call or email for more information on how to order ½ box. info@nu-hope.com or 800.899.5017


Pelican Healthcare Ltd (as of March 24, 2020)

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, we can confirm and reassure that our manufacturing facilities and our supply chains are operating as normal. Our products are made in the UK ensuring that we will continue to meet demand. We have also taken proactive measures and are managing and monitoring supply and demand closely. We do not foresee any areas of risk to provide an ample supply of product to support our customers.

Read their full statement HERE.


Salts Healthcare (as of March 19, 2020)

Our ostomy products are manufactured in the UK and whilst we source materials globally, we do not have any concerns about the continued supply of our products and do not foresee any impact on our ability to manufacture these products.

Read their full statement HERE.


Welland Medical (as of March 16, 2020)

We have been in contact with our key suppliers and have sufficient materials stocks within the supply chain to mitigate any unforeseen materials issues.

You can read their full statement HERE.


Medical Equipment Suppliers

Regardless of whether you order your supplies online or at a brick and mortar medical supply store, these places rely on staff and products to be available in order to get them to you.

I am not aware of any shortages for these products at the supplier level at this time, but you might want to check in with your local ostomy products supplier in case they are having any delays or closures due to the virus.

What You Can Do

Hopefully, if you already have enough supplies to get you through the next month or two (which you should, regardless of any pandemic), there should be no real concern.

It is suggested that you should NOT hoard medical supplies (including ostomy supplies) as it could make those products unavailable to those who truly need them right now. I’ll be honest, this is a hard rule to follow, especially if you don’t have reliable wear time or if you change your appliance often.

Do your best to manage your ostomy and skincare so you can avoid any ostomy-related complications during this time.

You can refer to the many articles and videos I already have about ostomy care HERE and you can also discuss any concerns you might have with the VeganOstomy Community through the forums HERE.

Your local health authorities should have tips and resources on how to keep yourself protected from the virus, but many will be common sense (i.e. handwashing, social distancing, etc.).

Since your stoma is an entryway into your body, please handle appliance changes with extra care and make sure that your hands are washed and that your supplies have not come in contact with common or contaminated surfaces.

Closing Thoughts

There is no doubt that our lives have been and will continue to be impacted by COVID-19 over the next little while.

The saying “hope for the best, plan for the worst” seems fitting, but always remember that panic and irrational behavior will only make things worse for us and the global community affected by this pandemic.

Be smart. Be safe.

Further Reading

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a very informative page on how to protect yourself against, and better manage possible exposure to COVID-19 HERE.
  • Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has posted updates and tips for IBD patients HERE.
  • United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. has more information for ostomates HERE.
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sjlovestosing
Member

Hi everyone,  I am still alive and kicking, I just haven’t been on the forum for a while. I hope you are all well. Here in the States, everything is shutting down. It is sad how people are panicking over all of this. Even in Vermont, people are hoarding toilet paper, sanitizer, paper towels, and other things that don’t make much sense.  I understand the precautions for the elderly and for those with compromised immune systems. That’s only common sense, but panicking and stressing over this is not a good idea. I am staying away from the big grocery stores and am fortunate enough to have four small grocery stores nearby.  I prefer to help out the local economy anyway, so it’s no stretch for me. 
I just ordered my supplies and got only what I normally order each month and I am not worried that I won’t get them. God is good and has alway supplied our needs. 
 
Meanwhile, take care all and stay well. You are in my prayers.
Stella
 
 

john68
Member

Hi Folks, Here in the UK every day is bringing new restrictions and as I was out and about today it was really noticeable that people are really staying in.Some of our supermarkets are setting aside an hour in the morning for older customers. Smaller stores are offering a home delivery service. Ok I am referring to my own neck of the woods, but I am sure it’s the same where ever you are. Any one feeling isolated or alone please use the forum to reach out for help and direction. Some one will be familiar with what services are available in your area.👍

SqueakyandLiza
Member

@john68
Our grocery stores here are doing the same thing – letting the first hour be for elderly and immune compromised people. Many restaurants are offering free delivery since our state required all restaurants close for dining in. Schools here are all closed until the end of April. And just yesterday, we had the first covid19 death in the city where I live. Our state leads the US in number of deaths and number of confirmed cases. 😳
 

Deb
Guest
Deb

Thanks for the helpful information. I did order one more box than I usually do but don’t really feel like this was hoarding!
Be safe and healthy.
Deb

john68
Member

Hi Folks, I was at my local pharmacy this morning, They where taking precautions by only allowing 5 persons in at one time, So I joined a long Q outside. I get my supplies through them and I asked what was happening with deliveries. At present they have seen no disruption. Talking to folks while waiting it’s the uncertainty that seems to be causing the most problems. 

Donald Depasquale
Guest
Donald Depasquale

Eric, Thank you for pulling this information together. I am sure that the lack of supplies has run through all of our minds. I know it I thought about it as I placed my order today.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Thank you for all the research and time. I really appreciate it

Nealthennurse
Member
Nealthennurse

Hi Eric,
Ostomy nurse (NSWOC) here. I had the same concerns and got a similar response as you did from the companies. Some brick and mortar retailers have a direct contract with a manufacturer while others go through a wholesaler but as of this time, there have been no reported delays between either type of supply chain.
There are also no reported delays from the company discharge programs for sample requests.
If a person is unsure whether they will be delays, they should contact their supplier.
On another note, if an ostomate needs to connect with their ostomy nurse either through a hospital or community clinic they are encouraged to contact them first as some outpatient services have been modified to limit potential exposure risk to the Coronavirus. This would also apply to retailers who have ostomy nurse services. Universal precautions should be in place to help protect ostomates.
For more routine inquiries, ostomy nurses (like myself) may offer phone, email or online consultations. If it is a new ostomate or the need is urgent, in-person appointments may be arranged but it is best to contact the ostomy nurse first to discuss arrangements.

Nancy Myers
Guest
Nancy Myers

Thank you very important. Eased my mind.

john68
Member

Hi Eric, many thanks for providing this information, their is to much confusion going about and it’s nice to have some clarity 👍

Sister Emmanuel Dominguez
Guest
Sister Emmanuel Dominguez

Thanks Eric! I am also grateful for the information you provided. I’m still trying to get used to what I need in terms of supplies.