Province providing support to Islanders living with an ostomy

 A new Ostomy Supplies Program is being established by the province, to support individuals living with an ostomy.

“This new program will have a major impact on the lives of hundreds of Islander currently living with ostomies,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “Living with an ostomy not only impacts your health and every day activities, but also your finances. We are taking action now, to provide financial support to those islanders in need.”

Individuals living with an ostomy use an external pouch to eliminate waste from their body. Ostomy supplies can be costly. Under the new Ostomy Supplies Program, all Islanders who require a permanent ostomy will be eligible for financial assistance, coverage will vary based on income ranging from 60 to 90 percent coverage, up to $2,400 per year.

“There are approximately 585 individuals living with ostomies in our province,” said Mitchell. “This new program is a first step to increase access and provide better care supports for these individuals.”

“I am thrilled with this news,” said Christine MacCallum, facilitator for the local Ostomy Peer Support Group. “We went from having no help to a really good and fair start to help Islanders living with an ostomy. Having a program dedicated to ostomy supplies is fantastic, as it will give us a place to study and improve on the needs of people with an ostomy. It is very gratifying to know that we were listened to and understood. This program will help so many.”

Enterostomal Therapists, who are nurses who specialists in ostomy, wound and continence care, embraced the news and applauds government’s decision to enhance supports for this community.

“The Association of Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada (NSWOCC) congratulates the provincial government of Prince Edward Island for announcing an ostomy supply program which will greatly improve the lives of hundreds of Islanders,” said Catherine Harley, Executive Director of NSWOCC. “This program will improve the lives of Islanders both financially and clinically, as studies have shown that access to appropriate ostomy supplies decreases complications, thus decreasing the clinical and financial burden on individuals and the healthcare system.”

Through Health PEI, the province will continue to provide education and training in-hospital by Enterostomal Therapists, as well as post discharge supports in-home and via telehealth until patients are able to manage independently.

The new program will come into effect January 1, 2019. 

Media contact:
Autumn Tremere
Health and Wellness
(902) 368-5610  

PEI’s new Ostomy Supplies Program
There are approximate 585 people with ostomies in PEI.  The new ostomy supplies program will be available to all Islanders with permanent ostomies. Through the program government will provide varying rates of coverage based on income and subject to payer of last resort, to all people with permanent ostomies, up to $2,400/year. 

Coverage rates per ostomy are illustrated in the table below. Where a client has private health insurance, the amounts paid by the government and client are applied to the amount not covered by the insurer.

Household Income tier Government coverage rate per ostomy Client Pays
$0-$19,999 90% 10%
$20,000 - $49,999 80% 20%
$50,000 - $99,999 70% 30%
$100,000+ 60% 40%

The new program will come into effect January 1, 2019. 

Additional ostomy support will continue to be provided for low-income individuals who quality for AccessAbility Supports through the Department of Family and Human Services.

Ostomy supplies
Ostomy surgery is a procedure that allows bodily waste to pass through a surgically created opening (stoma) on the abdomen into a prosthetic (ostomy bag or pouch) on the outside of the body. An ostomy may be necessary due to birth defect, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and severe abdominal or pelvic trauma, among other conditions. Colostomies, urostomies, and ileostomies are the most common types of ostomy procedures.

Ostomies may be temporary or permanent, and require costly supplies to manage. Individual needs for supplies vary depending on the type of ostomy, but generally include:
•    Skin wafers: flange that fits around the stoma
•    Ostomy pouches: waste collection pouch available in various shapes/sizes
•    Adhesive removers: used to treat the skin where the wafer attaches around the stoma
•    Skin barrier wipes: help keep the skin around the stoma free of infection
•    Stoma powders, pastes, and barrier rings: assist with the adherence of skin wafers
•    Ostomy belts: keep skin wafers in place with pressure


General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121