A new network of ostomy support groups — the United Ostomy Associations of America — has been formed to provide information, support, and advocacy for people with bowel and urinary diversion and the local groups that work with them. UOAA began operations on October 1, 2005 and has opened a website as part of their initial efforts. Members of UOAA will not be individuals, but organizations that serve and support people with ostomies.
The United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. describes itself:
UOAA is a national network for bowel and urinary diversion support groups in the United States. Its goal is to provide a nonprofit association that will serve to unify and strengthen its member support groups, which are organized for the benefit of people who have, or will have intestinal or urinary diversions and their caregivers.
People with ostomies or concerns about a potential ostomy can find a nearby support groupamong the affiliate members on the UOAA website.
The new website has an active Discussion Board where people can ask questions and receive help. Since October 1, there have been nearly 2,400 posts made to its forums by almost 500 participants.
Future plans call for a magazine The Phoenix and an annual conference as well as providing support and information for local associations.
When the United Ostomy Association ceased operations on September 30, 2005 local support organizations were left without support of their own. Local groups provide support and education for people with ostomies and their caregivers. Some hold regular group meetings, some have provided hospital visitors or supportive phone calls to newly diagnosed patients. However, dwindling membership, reduced funding and increased costs of operation made continuing UOA impossible. UOA closed after 43 years of service.
An ostomy is a surgically created opening in the skin to divert either urine or feces from their normal route in the body.