PURPOSE: Abdominal exercises are being advocated after stoma surgery and investigated in clinical research. Little is known about the patients' perspective of doing abdominal exercises in the first three months after getting a stoma. The aim of this study was to explore patients' experiences with and attitudes toward abdominal exercises after stoma surgery.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with a new ileostomy or colostomy were invited to participate in an interview after having performed a set of abdominal exercises one time as part of a preceding study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at inpatient wards and outpatient clinics at two hospitals. Audio recordings were transcribed to text verbatim and analyzed with inductive content analysis.
RESULTS: Analysis of 14 interviews resulted in four categories: "The attitude toward abdominal exercises is positive"; "Treatment and illness form barriers to abdominal exercises"; "Wish for help with abdominal exercises after stoma surgery"; and "Abdominal exercises are experienced as being easy".
CONCLUSIONS: Participants with a new stoma wished for guidance in abdominal exercises. Health professionals should be aware of potential barriers to participation in abdominal exercise in patients with a stoma. Abdominal exercises were easy to perform with a stoma in a supervised setting. Implications for rehabilitation Participants were positive toward abdominal exercises, and the stoma was rarely in the way. Help and guidance with abdominal exercises is important after stoma surgery. Health professionals should consider possible barriers and concerns to exercise.