An ostomate is anyone who has undergone surgery resulting in a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, commonly and collectively referred to as a stoma.
The stoma is an artificially created opening in the abdominal wall which allows for the evacuation of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract or urine when normal function is no longer possible.
There are many medical conditions that can result in needing a stoma including birth defects, cancer, accident or disease. It may be permanent or temporary.
People with a stoma usually wear a disposable bag (known as an appliance) over the stoma to catch output.
WAOA’s mission is ‘To improve the social, emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing of ostomates and the people who care about them’.
This mission is achieved by distributing stoma care appliances and pharmaceutical items, approved by the Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS) and by the provision of support services, information and encouragement concerning all aspects of stoma care to our members.
Our members range in age from newborn to over 100 years. There are approximately 46,000 Ostomates in Australia of which approximately 3,600 are members of WAOA.
WAOA is managed by a committee that is elected at an annual general meeting for a two year term following a nomination process by members. We are a non-profit, non-government organisation that relies on the dedication and support of our staff, Stomal Therapy Nurses and volunteers.