Loreto is a Clinical Nurse Consultant with thirty-six years’ experience in stomal, wound and continence care. She works with Associate Professor Sebastian King at the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service (CPRS) as a Stomal Therapist and has been instrumental in implementing new and innovative ideas into practice to improve the lives and outcomes of children. While working at Monash Hospital, Loreto and a colleague began using the ultrasonic-assisted wound debridement equipment for wounds.
Many of Loreto’s patients struggle with constipation caused by Hirschprungs disease or Analrectal Malformation (ARM). To treat constipation, a stimulant may be used, or rectal drug therapy, and as a last resort, an appendicostomy. A Mini-Ace button is now being used with the appendicostomy which is new for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Nurses such as Loreto then teach the children (if appropriate), the parents and staff at the child’s school how to support continence management. Loreto works alongside her colleague Sarah as stomal therapists. With similar clinics in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, Loreto is establishing a group for stomal therapists with a seminar planned for the end of 2022 (COVID permitting!). A key element of the seminar will be dividing therapists into groups to do research on topics such as bottom care, appendicostomy washouts, rectal and other therapies. The hope is that these seminar research groups will lead to consensus guidelines for treatment.
The clinic is state and federally funded for at least five years. Loreto reassures parents that although there is not one quick fix and treatment requires time and patience, the clinic is here to help and treatment is individualised. A course of action is usually determined after consulting the bowel chart. Through the clinic’s work, patients can go from being down and dejected to happy and healthy children. Loreto hopes that the work of herself and Sarah will lead to a more coordinated approach with better health outcomes for the children.