The Value of an IA Visitor

IA has been providing visitors to patients pre- and post-operatively since it was founded. Visiting is one of the most important services IA offers, as it allows patients to meet and talk to someone in complete confidence who has experienced a situation similar to their own. All patients and visitors are matched as closely as possible in terms of age, sex, type of surgery, occupation and interests.

IA offers a variety of training to its members who are suitable to visit. The training ranges from one day introductory sessions to the three-day ‘Counselling Skills for IA Visitors’ course, which is endorsed by WCET (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing Gastroenterology and Stoma Care Nursing Forum.

Visitors and stoma care nurses

IA visitors have a close working relationship with stoma care nurses and work in partnership with them. Our common aim is to provide a high quality service for all ostomy patients.

Professional and experiential knowledge are necessary components for the care of the person with a newly formed stoma or internal pouch. With earlier discharge from hospital there is an opportunity for the volunteer visitor to work in partnership with the stoma care nurse by providing valuable support to the patient in the community.

Carefully selected visitors who have been given the right training should make a positive difference to the rehabilitation of a patient and provide the right support for the stoma care nurse.

Visitor selection criteria

IA visitors are specially selected. To be considered for a place on one of the IA visitor training courses, a candidate must:

  • have an ileostomy or ileo-anal pouch
  • be at least 18 months post-surgery
  • be involved with IA locally
  • have 2 recognised sponsors (all potential visitors have their application supported by an official from their local group and their stoma care nurse).

How to find out more

If you would like more information on becoming an IA visitor, or if you would like to speak to an IA visitor in confidence, please contact our National Office on 0800 0184 724, or e-mail