Patient Decision-Making about Emergency and Planned Stoma Surgery for IBD: A Qualitative Exploration of Patient and Clinician Perspectives

Lesley Dibley*, Wladyslawa Czuber-Dochan, Tiffany Wade, Julie Duncan, Jennie Burch, Janindra Warusavitarne, Christine Norton, Micol Artom, Liam O'Sullivan, Azmina Verjee, Denise Cann, members of the stoma PPI team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Many inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients worry about stoma-forming surgery (SFS), sometimes enduring poor bowel-related quality of life to avoid it. Anticipation of SFS and whether expectations match experience is underreported. This qualitative study explored influences on patients' SFS decision-making and compared preoperative concerns with postoperative outcomes. Methods: We purposively recruited participants with IBD from UK hospital outpatient and community sources, and IBD clinicians from public hospitals. Four focus groups, 29 semistructured patient participant interviews, and 18 clinician interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. Participants had a current temporary, recently-reversed, or permanent stoma, or were stoma naive. Results: Four themes emerged: Preoperative concerns and expectations, Patient decision-making, Surgery and recovery, and Long-term outcomes. Participants and clinicians agreed about most preoperative concerns, that outcomes were often better than expected, and support from others with a stoma is beneficial. Patient decision-making involves multiple factors, including disease status. Some clinicians avoid discussing SFS, and the phrase 'last resort' can bias patient perceptions; others recommend early discussion, increasing dialogue when medical management becomes ineffective. The postoperative period is particularly challenging for patients. Stoma acceptance is influenced by personal perceptions and pre- and postoperative clinical and social support. Conclusion: Patients need balanced information on all treatment options, including surgery, from an early stage. Early multidisciplinary team dialogue about SFS, and contact with others living well with a stoma, could enable informed decision-making. Life with a stoma is often better than anticipated, improving quality of life and control. Ongoing specialist nursing support AIDS recovery and adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • decision-making
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • qualitative
  • stoma
  • surgery


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