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2016 180 Medical College Scholarship Recipients: Focus on Marina

by Jessica December 22 2016 12:38
Earlier in the year, we were finally able to announce the names of this year's 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients after much deliberation. It was difficult to narrow it down to only seven recipients, because there were so many deserving candidates with inspirational backstories and exciting goals, whether to be able to return to school after a long absence in hopes to renew a career path or just starting out as a college freshman with dreams of being able to help others with their future job. We are truly honored to be able to help these seven students get a little closer to their goals. 

We will continue to feature each one of our recipients on our blog, so sign up for our newsletter so you can get notified every time we publish a new blog. Previously, we have featured MacyJared, TiffanySpencerMaria, and Nicole. Today, meet the last of our 2016 recipients, Marina!

marina 180 medical college scholarship recipient 2016

Marina is no stranger to a challenge. She was born with a host of medical issues, including a neurogenic bladder and a chronic illness, and when she wasn't at the hospital or at home dealing with the setbacks of her condition, she also had to deal with some discrimination in school. But through it all, she has maintained a level of positive thinking and inner strength that is truly inspiring. She states, "I decided at a very early age that I would not let this setback define who I was, but rather who I will become."

In addition to working hard to keep a high GPA and maintaining her status on the Honor Roll, she also participates in extreme snowboarding, kickboxing, running, and volunteering however she can in her community. She is also always open to helping out a peer or another adolescent with advice and support before and after their surgeries. 

marina 180 medical 2016 college scholarship recipient snowboarding

Thanks to her experience, both of living with her conditions and in helping others, she feels she has discovered her core characteristics and her true ambitions -- to become a nurse. "In addition to a solid education, experience goes a long way towards creating our best and most compassionate nurses," Marina says, and we're sure that her experiences will lead her to be a truly great nurse! 

180 Medical is honored to offer an annual scholarship program to help those with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), and/or a neurogenic bladder. We know paying for college isn't easy these days, and we also understand that there can often be extra financial difficulties for aspiring students who live with these conditions. That's why we created this program. To learn more about our annual College Scholarship, visit our Scholarship page

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company. 

 

2016 180 Medical College Scholarship Recipients: Focus on Nicole

by Jessica December 9 2016 19:53
Earlier in the year, we were finally able to announce the names of this year's 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients after much deliberation. It was difficult to narrow it down to only seven recipients, because there were so many deserving candidates with inspirational backstories and exciting goals, whether to be able to return to school after a long absence in hopes to renew a career path or just starting out as a college freshman with dreams of being able to help others with their future job. We are truly honored to be able to help these seven students get a little closer to their goals. 

We will continue to feature each one of our recipients on our blog, so sign up for our newsletter so you can get notified every time we publish a new blog. Previously, we have featured MacyJared, TiffanySpencer, and Maria. This week, meet Nicole!

nicole m 2016 180 medical scholarship recipient quote

Nicole is an inspiring young woman who has been through many surgeries and hospital stays due to complication with a rare disease known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Despite all of this, focusing on her education was her top priority. Although she felt that her condition and the outcome of various surgeries were out of her control, her grades and her drive to succeed were both something she could absolutely control.

Thanks to ileostomy surgery, she is living a happy, healthy life again. Not only is she dedicated to helping others, she offers support and enjoys educating others about living with an ostomy on her own YouTube channel. She also loves to spend time volunteering as a counselor and nurse aid at Youth Rally, which is a great camp for kids and adolescents who have conditions of the bowel and/or bladder that offers motivational and education sessions and opportunities. She has also mentored young girls as a counselor at GIRLS Academy. Now, her focus continues with her schooling as she works toward earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing. 
nicole m 2016 scholarship recipient
Because of her first-hand experiences with illness, surgeries, and recovery, as well as her involvement in offering advice and support to others living with an ostomy, we're sure that Nicole will be an excellent nurse, and we wish her the best of luck as she continues on with her schooling. 

180 Medical is honored to offer an annual scholarship program to help those with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), and/or a neurogenic bladder. We know paying for college isn't easy these days, and we also understand that there can often be extra financial difficulties for aspiring students who live with these conditions. That's why we created this program. To learn more about our annual College Scholarship, visit our Scholarship page

180 medical college scholarship application footer

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company. 

 

What Type of Ostomy Wafer is Right for You?

by Jessica August 8 2016 09:15
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Whether you're new to using ostomy supplies or if you have been a seasoned ostomate for some time now, you are probably aware of the wide variety of ostomy supplies and accessories available on the market today. It's great that there are so many options available to help suit one's individual needs, but you might still be looking for the right products to fit your needs. 

Here at 180 Medical, we like to make sure you have correct and up-to-date information on your product options, so in today's blog post, we shed some light on what wafers, or skin barriers, are all about and how the right one for you can make a big difference in your ostomy experience. 

What Is a Wafer?

Ostomy pouching systems are offered in two main options: a one-piece system or a two-piece system. In a one-piece system, the wafer and pouch are all in one, which can be best for those who don't have to change out their pouches as often. For instance, many ostomates using urostomy supplies may find they don't have to change out their pouch as often, because many prefer to use drainable bags for their needs.

In a two-piece system, the wafer and pouch are separate from one another, which allows for quicker changing of your ostomy pouch. It's an easier system for those who utilize closed pouches versus drainable or for those who change their ostomy pouches more frequently, as it as it reduces the wear on skin from removing and reapplying the adhesive wafer too often.

What Types of Wafers Are Available?

flat and convex skin barrier comparison Because stoma sizes and shapes vary from person to person, there are three main types of wafers currently available on the market:
  1. Pre-cut wafers: These are manufactured for the most common sizes for circular stomas. No cutting or alterations needed on these, but not everyone's stoma is a common size or shape.
  2. Cut-to-fit wafers: These wafers come with varying sizes printed directly on them, which serve as a guide to allow you to cut your own opening to fit your individual stoma size and shape. This is a great option for those who are in between sizes or have an irregular stoma shape.
  3. Moldable Wafers: This is the newest technology on the market today. Moldable wafers provide the same benefits as the cut-to-fit wafers with some additional conveniences. They are made out of a flexible, stoma-safe material which allows you to roll the material back snugly with your thumbs or fingers to the right size and shape for your needs -- no scissors required! After the wafer, or skin barrier, is molded, it is placed on the skin around the stoma, just as with all wafers, except the moldable technology allows the material to fit more snugly around the stoma (this process is called "turtle-necking"). This provides maximum comfort and helps to prevent those leakage issues that everyone wants to avoid with their ostomy system. 

Flat Vs. Convex Wafers

Just as every individual has their own unique stoma size and shape, everyone will have some difference in protrusion lengths. While some may have a significant protrusion from the skin, others might have a stoma that lays flat with the skin, or even retreats a little bit into their body. 

Flat Wafers
For those whose stomas protrude from the body more than a quarter of an inch, the best wafer will typically be a flat variation of the wafer. This type of wafer is very flexible in order to accommodate for the contours of one's body. For those whose stomas are flat to the skin or more shallow, there may be more leakage issues, since the stoma isn't protruding enough to empty efficiently into the pouch, which can cause effluent to leak underneath the wafer and even irritate skin.

Convex Wafers
For shorter stoma protrusions, or for the stomas that lay flat or retreat inwards from the skin, the better option may be a convex wafer, which positions the hole in the center of the wafer in a bowl shape. This creates a protrusion around the stoma so it will drain cleanly and efficiently into the pouch without leakage. Convex wafers, however, are not as flexible as flat wafers, but they can save a lot of time and trouble for those with shorter stomas or more rounded abdomens.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact one of our highly-trained Ostomy Specialists during business hours at 1-877-688-2729. We'll be happy to help you find the right ostomy products and accessories for your individual needs and preferences. 

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company. She loves writing, playing music, creating art, and spending quality time with her dogs, friends, & family.
 

Drainable or Closed?: Choosing the Right Ostomy Pouch for Your Needs

by Jessica April 27 2016 09:58
drainable or closed ostomy pouch

When you first begin to use ostomy supplies, you may find that there are a lot of different types of products and accessories out there on the market today that can service your needs and even make your daily routine a little easier. Depending on the type of ostomy you have (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you may find yourself wondering which type of pouch is best for your individual preferences and needs. This post is intended to help shed some light on the differences between these two types of pouches, as well as their potential uses and benefits.

Drainable Pouchdrainable colostomy pouch

  • Drainable pouches are open-ended with some type of secure closure, such as a clamp, press and seal, velcro, etc., so that you can empty your pouch and reuse. For instance, Convatec Pouches, like the popular SUR-FIT® Natura drainable pouches, feature a wide tail-like opening for easy, safe emptying along with an Invisiclose® Lock-It-Pocket™ that rolls up to hide the tail-end opening. This closure type provides the security and comfort of a closed pouch, so you can feel confident about your drainable pouch staying secure and comfortable throughout the day. 
  • This type of pouch is most suitable for collecting liquid, such as urine, or bowel movements that are more liquid in consistency (i.e. not fully formed or thick). 
  • Does not require changing out as often as a closed pouch, so fewer pouches are used.
  • May be difficult to empty if your output is formed or of a thicker consistency.
  • Easy to empty and clean, prior to eventual disposal. 
  • Ideally should be emptied when the pouch is about half-full.
  • The outlet/closure should be cleaned of any output that may remain on the pouch after each time it is emptied.
Who Does This Type of Pouch Work Best For?
The drainable pouch is typically best for those with an ileostomy or for those with more frequent discharge/output from their stoma throughout the day. Specialized pouches with closeable drainage taps/valves are available for those with urostomies as well. Drainable pouches may be a more comfortable, reliable option than continually changing out pouches and disposing of them. 

Closed Pouch

  • Closed-end pouches are designed for one-time use only, so they must be removed and disposed of once they are full. closed end ostomy pouch
  • Cannot be emptied or reused, so you may use more product than if you were to use a drainable pouch. Typically, these are changed out once to three times a day, but the frequency is based entirely upon your individual needs and your healthcare professional's recommendations. 
  • Closed pouches are often preferred for activities such as swimming or intimate moments, just for the extra security of knowing there is no opening for any discharge to leave the pouch.
  • Most suitable for collecting fully formed bowel movements or output of a thicker consistency.
  • This style of pouch will need to be changed and disposed of even when away from home, so that is something to keep in mind when it comes time to dispose of your pouch. 
Who Does This Type of Pouch Work Best For?
If your discharge is less frequent, or if your discharge is small enough that you would only have to change out your pouch once or twice a day.

Both are effective and good quality pouching systems that are sure to meet your needs, but the choice made is typically one of personal preference as well as the type/consistency of your output. Your prescribing healthcare professional is there to discuss these more in depth with you and let you know which one may work best for your individual needs.

At 180 Medical, we have closed and disposable pouches, along with a wide array of wafers and barriers, adhesive removers, belts, and plenty of other high-quality products and accessories to choose from. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our friendly, trained Ostomy Specialists, who will be glad to work with you to find the right supplies for you. 


About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, playing music, creating art, and spending quality time with her dogs, friends & family.
 

Living With a Colostomy

by Jessica December 10 2015 14:56
Although adjusting to life after a surgical procedure can be difficult, it's not impossible. Living with a colostomy can be a major life change, but with some practice, you will learn how to adjust. In time, taking care of your colostomy will become second nature. Read on for useful tips to help you lead an active life with your ostomy:

Give Yourself Time to Heal

If you recently had surgery, it's crucial that you give yourself time to heal during the recovery phase. It will take patience and practice to learn how to care for your colostomy. Follow the instructions given by your doctor and/or nurses, and don't hesitate to ask questions and notify them of any concerns you may have. couple hugging ostomy

Adapt to Changes
Part of the healing phase includes adapting to new bowel habits. It is common for colostomy stool to be softer than stool passed through the rectum, and you may experience more frequent bowel movements than before your surgery. As you adapt to the new circumstances, you will be able to predict these tendencies. 

Consume a Well-Balanced Diet

After surgery, you may have to adjust your diet a bit to allow your body time to heal. Follow your doctor's directions for eliminating potentially troublesome foods from your diet. You may be advised to start small and stick to small portions of low-fiber meals, or you doctor may ask you to cut back on foods that could result in excessive gas, constipation, or diarrhea since these can interfere with your colostomy. Over time, you will be able to adjust the types and amounts of foods you eat according to your personal needs. 

Monitor Your Medications
In addition to eating a balanced meal, be cautious of the medications you take, as some can cause constipation or diarrhea. You should consult with your healthcare professional about medications to adjust or avoid. 

Find a Colostomy System That Works for You
When you arrive home from the hospital, you will have been sent home with a few products and accessories to help you prepare your skin and collect your stool in a pouching system. Soon, you'll be ready to get your supplies on a regular basis. As your colostomy heals, you may find that your product needs may change. At 180 Medical, we supply customers with the best colostomy products on the market to meet their healthcare needs. Our colostomy products and accessories are shipped directly to you so you can save yourself the hassle of driving to the pharmacy. 

Live Your Life
Having a colostomy doesn't mean that you have to give up your favorite hobbies and activities. You may find it a little hard at first to get back into the swing of things, but with some help from your healthcare professional, friends, and family, you'll be back to doing the things you love in no time. You can learn how to become comfortable with your colostomy which will take patience, practice, the right colostomy products, and a positive outlook.

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What Are the Differences Between IBS and IBD?

by Jessica September 16 2015 19:05
One of the biggest questions that those with digestive issues may have is what is the difference between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?  Although the two acronyms may look very similar, there are some major differences between the two. Both produce different symptoms and have different treatments. Therefore, it's important to speak with your doctor to find out which one you have to ensure you get the correct care to treat your particular condition. For the purposes of this blog post, we will discuss both conditions, so you can have a better idea of how they affect the body. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Of the two conditions, IBS is by far the more common. IBS is a condition that affects the large intestine. Unlike IBD, IBS does not change the bowel tissue in the body. It is a chronic condition though, and it can produce some uncomfortable symptoms such as:
  • Cramping
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • and more.
Usually, IBS is treated through changes in diet, an increased intake of fiber, and elimination of foods that cause the symptoms. There are several medications available that may be prescribed in certain situations, particularly when the symptoms are affecting an individual's lifestyle. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD is usually either or both or two specific conditions: Crohn's disease and/or ulcerative colitis. Both are conditions that can affect the small and large intestines, as well as the stomach, mouth, and anus. Basically, there is inflammation in part of or across the entire GI tract. The symptoms for IBD are generally more severe than IBS. These symptoms can include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
IBD is generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and immuno-suppressants, but these are sometimes not enough. If the condition does not respond to medication, an ostomy surgery may be required.


If you have an ostomy, whether that's a colostomy or an ileostomy, 180 Medical can provide the ostomy supplies you need with convenience, care, and quickness. Customer service is our number one concern, and we will do everything possible to help you find the products you need without any headaches or delays. We also work to get any documentation necessary, and we offer free shipping direct to your home. 

Contact 180 Medical today to learn more about how you can receive superior products in the most efficient manner possible. 

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Knowing Which Colostomy Product is Right for You

by Jessica September 10 2015 19:35
If you have a colostomy, then you need to make sure you have the products that are best for your individual situation and preferences. There are many options to choose from in the world of ostomy products, including many styles of pouching systems -- but it doesn't have to be confusing. Here's a breakdown of all the major colostomy product options:

  • Two-piece design: A two-piece colostomy pouch is the classic design, widely trusted by many patients and practitioners. In this design, the wafer that attaches to the skin around the stoma is a separate piece from the actual collection pouch, most often called a skin barrier. This allows you to easily position and secure the wafer without the pouch getting in the way. With this style of colostomy pouch, you want to make sure that you get a tight seal between the skin barrier and the pouch itself. Many brands have developed simple methods, such as a two-click attachment, so you know for sure whether the pouch is firmly attached and resistant to leakage. 
closed end colostomy pouch 180 medical convatec
  • One-piece design: The one-piece colostomy pouch is designed to be simpler and involve fewer steps than the two-piece design. The entire pouch is one piece with the skin barrier already attached, ready to be fitted directly over the stoma. This means that once it's on, there's nothing else to attach and no worry about leakage between the two pieces. However, you must take care to make sure you get a complete seal when you place it over the stoma for attachment to your skin.  
  • Closed-end: Closed-end pouches do not have a drain or opening that will allow you to empty the bag and reuse. These pouches are designed to be used once and then thrown away once they are full or nearly full. 
  • Drainable: Drainable pouches have a drain on the bottom that can be opened or closed to allow the contents to drain out into a toilet. This means that you can continue using each pouch for a longer period of time rather than replacing it every time it's full, as you do with the closed-end pouches. However, this is entirely a personal preference according to which fits you and your routine more.  
  • Pediatric: Separate sizes are available for children and will usually be less cumbersome and more appropriate than adult sizes, depending on the child.

At 180 Medical, we have all of these options available and more, including accessories. Contact us to speak to a knowledgeable, friendly Ostomy Specialist today.

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5 Things to Look For in an Ostomy Supplies Provider

by Jessica June 25 2015 09:51
If you’ve had a colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy or any other form of ostomy procedure, then you need the right kind of supplies for your specific condition in order to maintain your health and well-being. But finding the provider for your supply needs can sometimes feel like you’re searching through a maze. Not all medical supply companies are equal.



Here’s what we recommend you look for:  
  1. Direct billing to your insurance. There is no reason you should have to deal with the insurance company after every purchase. Find a company with knowledgeable billing staff that specialize in third-party billing and will bill your insurance directly, meaning less paperwork, less time of the phone, and less headache for you.
  2. Respectful discretion. While having an ostomy is nothing to be ashamed about, it’s not necessarily something you want to explain more than you have to. That’s why you should be able to count on protection of your privacy by your ostomy supplies company, from discreet packaging to careful policies in who they talk to and what they disclose, especially when calling their customers.
  3. Free home delivery and well-stocked inventory. Local pharmacies may not always have the items you need readily available, plus you'll have to pick up the items yourself most of the time. When it comes to necessary medical supplies, you need a company that you can really rely upon to have the supplies you need and deliver them direct to your door.
  4. Friendly, live customer assistance. How much do you loathe automated customer service lines with long hold times and automated menus, and then when you finally speak to a representative, you’re treated like just another number? An ostomy supplies company that truly cares about their customers will not force people to talk to a robot or wade through countless menus. Instead, they’ll offer the ability to speak with a live human being during business hours right away, who can give you personalized, knowledgeable customer service.
  5. A supplier that will work with your physician. You may have been using ostomy supplies for years and know exactly what you need. Or you may be new to this and unsure which supply type is the best choice for you, due to the wide variety of ostomy supplies. Look for a company that will work with you and your physician directly to obtain any necessary prescriptions for your supplies and figure out what works best for your needs.  
180 Medical has provided superior service and quality catheter and ostomy supplies to customers for years. Give us a call or contact us on live chat to see why so many choose and stay with us for their much-needed supplies.

Using Medicare to Pay for Your Ostomy Supplies

by Jessica April 22 2015 12:39
We all know that ostomy supplies aren't always cheap when you’re paying for supplies out of your own pocket. Whether you've had a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, it’s a necessity to have access to quality ostomy supplies that you can trust. You will need to have a supply of your ostomy equipment at all times, and you’ll want products and brands that you feel are most comfortable, most reliable, and easiest to use.

You may have concern about what type of products or how many you can get when you are buying supplies out of your own pocket. But if you have Medicare, did you know that they cover ostomy supplies and that you may not have to pay as much out of pocket?  

ostomy 180 medicalMedicare is relied upon by millions of people for their essential medical supplies, including ostomy supplies. Medicare covers a portion of the cost of your supplies (typically 80%), so there is usually an out-of-pocket cost after they pay their portion, unless you also have a supplemental insurance plan. This is far less costly than paying cash for the supplies outright though. You may have to consider the supply limits within a 30 or 90-day range that must be followed in order to have Medicare pay their portion.

Here are some tips for finding the right ostomy supply company  for your needs:    

  1. Choose a company that specializes in ostomy supplies. – There a lot of advantages to having a supplier that really knows its industry inside and out. Unlike companies that provide a wide range of supplies of all kinds, medical supply providers like 180 Medical have specialists that are rigorously trained to understand ostomy procedures, products, and the latest technology. They will also have the ability to keep inventory well-stocked in a central location for shipping. They will also have a wider selection of quality products, compared to limited inventory of local pharmacies.

  2. Seek out a provider that is accredited with Medicare. – When you get your supplies from a company that has adheres to the strict qualifications required in order to be accredited with Medicare, you can be assured that they are committed to offering the best quality care in the industry. 180 Medical is proud to be an accredited and contracted with Medicare, as well as ACHC-accredited. We are not only contracted with Medicare, but also with most state Medicaid plans and a variety of private insurance plans.

  3. Find a supplier that will handle billing your insurance for you. – You don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of turning in claims on your products for repayment. Quality ostomy suppliers like 180 Medical will take the time to interface with your physician and your insurer to make sure you are getting the products you need covered.  

With these tips, you may be on the way to getting quality ostomy supplies that could be covered by your Medicare plan. To find out if your supplies could be covered by Medicare or for other questions, call us at 180 Medical today at 1-877-688-2729.


Related Posts

Time to Apply for 180 Medical's 2015 College Scholarship Program

by Jessica January 28 2015 13:24
Are you seeking financial assistance to help pay for your full-time college hours in the Fall of 2015?  Up until June 1st of this year, eligible applicants can apply for one of seven awards. Learn more: