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In conversation: Ieva, Nikki & Max
Our latest series; ‘In conversation’ shares customers meeting with staff from Salts Healthcare to discuss their journey, how Salts helps to deliver better care and how people living with a stoma benefit from our service.
“We can only improve our products by talking to people. It helps me to understand what I do, why I do it, and who I do it for…people like Max.”
Six-year-old patient, Max, with his Mum, Nikki, and Confidence BE® Team Leader at Salts Healthcare, Ieva, chat. Ieva, mum to a three-year-old girl, wants to find out how the products that Salts Healthcare creates help people like Max. Nikki is interested in how Salts understand people who have a stoma and make the bags.
Max had his ileostomy operation in 2018 after being born with Hirschsprung’s disease*. Max wears Confidence BE® drainable standard in black.
Ieva kicked off the conversation by wanting to find out how Nikki first broached the conversation to Max about having an operation, and if she has any advice for other parents who may be in a similar position. For Nikki, making the decision for Max to have the stoma operation was a difficult one, but it was the best option.
Nikki and her partner explained to Max what his surgeon would be doing in order to make him feel better - instead of going to the toilet, he would have a bag attached to a little lump on his tummy. They also showed him and his brother photos and videos of people living with a stoma to help normalise this. Making sure it was a family decision which they were all involved in, helped both Max and his brother comes to term with this change. Since the operation, Max’s family also decided to name his stoma bags, so that people wouldn’t know what they were making reference to when out and about. They decided to call them after superheroes - Black Panther for his black bag and Storm Trooper for his white one.
Max has come on leaps and bounds and now helps when it’s time to change his bag. He has some great friends at school and is going to be the ‘teacher’ for the day, where he’ll tell his friends about life with his stoma.
Nikki then wanted to find out more about Ieva’s job and how Salts Healthcare tries to understand patients’ needs.
“We have lots of clever people designing things, testing them…we have a team of Eureka Ninjas whose job is to constantly improve everything we do…We have a lot of training…We also wear them, we even fill them with porridge to try to simulate the total experience. We want to understand the patient’s point of view.”
To see more of Ieva, Nikki & Max’s chat, please watch the full video below:
*Hirschsprung’s disease is when some of the nerve cells that are normally present in the intestine do not form properly during pregnancy. When we eat, nerve cells in the intestines receive signals telling the intestinal muscles to move food. With Hirschsprung’s disease, the signals are interrupted. Because stools cannot move normally, the intestine can become obstructed and expand, leading to bloating and pain.