Enteroatmospheric Fistula – Caring for Mind and Body

Mrs Renee Matthews1, Mrs  Kristie Willis1
1Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Australia

Enteroatmospheric Fistula – the mere term ignites terror in any Stomal Therapists’ minds. HOW AM I GOING TO MANAGE THIS?!??!

This presentation follows Annie’s journey and examines the transformation from an enteroatmospheric to enterocutaneous fistula and will focus on the problem-solving techniques used to facilitate healing. We will explore the management techniques used throughout including effluent containment, wound irrigation and suction, fistula isolation, fistula adapter, negative pressure wound therapy, skin grafting and the ultimate aim – REVERSAL.

The wound transformation was nothing short of incredible, but wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing and inspiring determination and positive outlook that Annie showed throughout her year of hospitalisation. In addition to a multidisciplinary approach used for this wound, it was also essential to consult with colorectal surgeons, wound care consultants and our Stomal Therapy colleagues.

Wound healing was finally achieved, facilitated by holistic care with a cohesive approach by all members of the health care team. In Stomal therapy we are constantly challenged therefore problem solving is paramount. No two problems are the same, there is no ‘quick fix’ no ‘standard’ intervention.


Renee graduated from University of Tasmania in 2006 with a Bachelor of Nursing. After completing a postgraduate year in Tasmania, she then went on to work throughout England and Scotland. Returning home in 2010, she completed her Professional Honours and Masters in Clinical Nursing. Whilst working on a Colorectal/Urology Surgical ward she obtained her Stomal Therapy Certificate in 2015. Renee has a keen interest for Stomal Therapy Nursing and is always enthusiastic to further develop her skills in this speciality. She currently works as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager and relief Stomal Therapist within the Launceston General Hospital.

Kristie has been a Registered Nurse for 15 years and 9 years as a Stomal Therapy Nurse.  During that time, she has worked intermittently as an Stomal Therapy Nurse at the Launceston General Hospital.  Kristie has two sons and also works part-time as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager on Ward 5A a busy colorectal and urology surgical ward at the Launceston General Hospital. Kristie has a passion for Stomal therapy and enjoys educating ward staff in this area. Kristie also finds seeing the patients journey from preoperative counselling through to discharge extremely rewarding.