Anonymous Gift Helps Ostomy Center Expand Service

Ostomy clinicThe Ostomy Center at The Miriam is the only facility in Rhode Island dedicated to providing treatment and support to ostomy patients and their families and caregivers. The center—which is currently located in the Fain Building but moving to 180 Corliss Street in August— offers pre-operative counseling for patients who are to undergo creation of an ileostomy, colostomy, urostomy, or continent diversion, as well as comprehensive post-operative evaluation, guidance, wound care treatment and management.

For reference, ostomy surgery is a lifesaving procedure that enables bodily waste to pass through a surgically created opening or stoma, usually on the abdomen, into a pouch or bag on the outside of the body, or an internal pouch for continent diversion. Patients undergo such surgeries because parts of their urinary or digestive systems are not functioning properly due to a serious medical or non-medical condition—e.g. birth defects, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, accidents and injuries.

The specialized care delivered at the center helps ostomy patients adapt to their new normal way of life, explains Mary Cabral, a nurse practitioner at the center who is board certified in wound ostomy continence nursing. “Just getting back to daily activities such as work, school, sports, and social events can cause enormous fear, frustration and self-consciousness for many of our patients,” she says. “So, we are here to help them move toward independence and face the challenges of living with and managing their ostomy.”

Today, the center operates on an outpatient basis three days a week. But thanks to a gift from an anonymous philanthropist, which matches other donor’s gifts up to a total of $40,000, the center will be hiring an additional nurse practitioner so they can expand services and access to five days a week. Of this total, $5,000 will be earmarked for patient financial assistance, for those patients who are unable to get the medical supplies they need due to financial hardship.

“The Miriam is truly a one-of-its-kind resource in our region when it comes to wound/ostomy care,” a member of the anonymous donor family says. “So, we are proud to support their work and help them expand their services as they continue to deliver expert, compassionate care and meet the emotional and medical needs of their patients.”

“The need for these services is very real,” Mary adds, “and we couldn’t add staff without the help of our donor family. Their generosity will assist us in providing a positive impact in the lives of many more patients.”