This is the time of year when the excitement about summer holidays starts to build but for people with a stoma that excitement can be over shadowed by the fear of air travel.  As a hidden disability, the most common anxieties are centred around passing through airport security, having to display their stoma pouch in a public place, or of it showing up on the body scanner.

As award winning providers of support services to the stoma and continence care community, Respond Healthcare based in Cardiff fully understand these concerns and have teamed up with Cardiff Airport to deliver stoma awareness training to their Security and PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) staff.

Respond Director Chris Cochlin said “Travelling with a stoma can be daunting but shouldn’t limit a person’s ability to travel.  At Respond, we listen to our customer concerns and are always thinking about what we can do to help make life better.  By working in partnership with Cardiff Airport we hope to make the thought of air travel less intimidating.”

Led by Lead Respond Stoma Nurse Alison Roberts, the training explained what a stoma is, the different types and why people may have a stoma.  It also familiarised participants with the types of stoma supplies and accessories that ostomates are likely to wear and carry in their hand luggage.

Angela Summers, Terminal & Customer Services Manager at Cardiff Airport, added: “As a team we are committed to continually improving the customer experience, which often means educating and up-skilling staff so that they are ready to support customers with a hidden condition.  The training was hugely valuable, by highlighting potential sensitivities and considerations the team now has a greater understanding and is equipped to supporting the individual needs of customers with a stoma.” 

Libby Herbert from Colostomy UK which supports people with a stoma welcomed the training. “I was delighted when Respond asked me to join them and input into their stoma awareness training at Cardiff Airport. Led by their stoma care nurse Alison we delivered the three active sessions, to engaging staff at Cardiff Airport, who were keen to listen and learn. It’s great to work together to make travel accessible to people living with a disability/ hidden condition.”

Losing luggage or running out of supplies is also a major concern for travellers.

Respond Healthcare has addressed this and has a system in place to help get emergency stoma supplies overseas through its Global Assistance Service.  Chris said ‘Respond Global Assistance is there to get stoma supplies to people when they run low unexpectedly whilst travelling abroad or in the event of their luggage being lost.  We have a variety of methods available to get emergency supplies out as quickly as possible, including a worldwide network of stoma product distributors.’

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