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Forward together

For 60 years, Coloplast has been improving the lives of people with intimate healthcare needs. But we were never alone on the journey.​

Healthcare professionals all over the world share our ambition of better care. People with intimate healthcare needs are sharing their opinions and dreams. Local partners are fighting side-by-side for better access to healthcare. And across all fields of expertise, we are sharing knowledge to reach better outcomes.

​So this year, on the occasion of our 60th anniversary, we want to celebrate the power of collaboration across the globe. Why? Because, as we set out to reach new heights in the coming 60 years, we know everything will be even better, when we all go…
Forward together

Forward together with the users of our products​

Forward together and closer together Forward together and closer together ”While our sons were growing up, my wife and I didn’t spend so much time together. But during my sickness, we became close again and now we’re enjoying life as a couple.” Unfold story

While Kazushige might be retired, he is showing no signs of slowing down. For one, he enjoys working as an employed senior at the local shopping centre where he waters plants. When he is not enjoying nature and taking care of his plants, Kazushige likes to travel. After the operation that resulted in him getting a urostomy, Kazushige found it increasingly difficult to visit and stay in Japanese hotels. He would not let that hold him back, however.

To avoid the problems that the low beds in Japanese hotels caused him, he developed his own urostomy bag basket. Gone are the days of experiencing problems in the hotels, and Kazushige is free to travel the country with his wife.

In a way, Kazushige feels, his sickness brought him closer to his wife. The fact that he is now able to travel with her, and to relax while doing his beloved gardening work means a lot to him, and he is always looking ahead.

Forward together after surgery Forward together after surgery ”I was 30 when I started to experience urinary stress incontinence but waited 9 years before trying to solve it. Surgery scared me because I was misinformed. But when I decided to have it, it was simpler than I had envisioned. Today, I feel free and enjoy life to the full." Unfold story

Marion has always enjoyed going to concerts, dancing, and going out with her friends and family. That all became difficult to enjoy when she began experiencing urinary incontinence at the age of 30. She was confused, and thought that this was something that only happened to people older than herself, so she ended up waiting nine years before going to a doctor.

“I want to share my experience and inform young women who are experiencing urinary stress incontinence. I want to help people to enjoy life, to reconnect with their life. I felt so insecure and trapped in this condition, and today I feel free and I enjoy my life to the fullest. Solve your issue, it doesn't matter your age, you can solve it.”

When Marion decided to get the surgery, it was a lot simpler than she had envisioned. She waited for as long as possible before taking the final step, because she found it difficult to get any information.

“I thought that it would be expensive, not accessible. So that’s why I chose to hide the issue instead of looking for a solution,” she says. “Before the surgery (three years ago) I felt like I was in jail in my physical condition. I couldn't do what I wanted, like go to concerts and jump and dance to the music. I was scared to get the surgery because I was misinformed, I thought that it was for older people and that I would not be able to walk properly afterwards. I lost the freedom to go out without having to think constantly of having toilets close by. I was constantly worried and couldn't live my life fully. I felt left alone with my condition.”

Today, Marion feels free again, and she has fallen back in love with life.

Forward together against the odds Forward together against the odds "14 years ago, I was hospitalised with a bad infection, a diabetic foot ulcer. The doctors were planning to amputate my leg to the knee. Then this nurse Monica changed my treatment, said she would take care of me and after a month they could reassess the situation. She was the light at the end of the tunnel. Her dedication saved me.”​ Unfold story

Celso can still clearly remember the day the doctors wanted to amputate part of his leg.

“I remember I was hospitalised on the 3rd floor and it was 17.00. Monica came to my bed.”

The nurse, Monica, changed the whole treatment and told the management that she would take care of Celso’s foot for one month, and then they could reassess the situation.

“She showed me a light at the end of the tunnel, and because of that Monica is more than a nurse to me. She did all the possible and impossible to help me, she never left me alone and called my family when she couldn't visit me in person. Her dedication saved me.”

Four years ago, Celso returned to performing. He couldn't stand up, but he started again by sitting and talking on stage.

“I had the opportunity to perform a show in front of 2,000 nurses, and I showed the audience what happened with the infection. This is when I realised that I was not an easy patient…”

Today, Celso is 55 years old and performs as a drag queen in Brazil and the US.

Forward together in love Forward together in love “ I wasn’t confident when I approached people. But now I’m in my twenties and have my implant. It has changed my life for the better. New situations open up to me that weren’t there before.​It’s made my relationship flourish.”​ Unfold story

Colin was in his teens when he realised he had erectile dysfunction. It took him a while to gather the 

courage to face it, but he now lives happily and confidently with a penile implant. Colin received the Titan®
penile implant. While it is not that common to see a user of Colin’s age needing an implant, Colin was born with a vascular condition that prevented the vessels in his penis from holding blood. So essentially, he was born with erectile dysfunction.

“When I was 20 I decided to seek treatment, and was referred to the Mayo Clinic in the US. The clinic suggested that a penile implant would be the only way to correct my condition.”

Colin has had the implant for approximately five years, and it has changed the way he approaches people.

“It has changed the way I approach talking to people – to my friends and to girls. It predominantly comes from being confident.”

Today, Colin has moved to Minnesota, gotten a new job as Vice President of The Millau Group Global – and a girlfriend. They’ve been seeing each other for a year now, and are very happy. 

Forward together with a winning attitude Forward together with a winning attitude “ I volunteer as chief executive of a local patient support group called SPINE where I helped establish the wheelchair-rugby team. There is a joy in helping other people, in seeing them doing a sport, being committed to it and getting fitter, which helps their lives.”​ Unfold story

At the age of 19, Kevin was in a car accident that left him with a spinal cord injury. 33 years later, the spinal unit at his local hospital considered closing and moving the unit to another hospital. Kevin refused to accept the sad destiny of his local hospital and decided to fight to keep the spinal unit open to him and other patients who depended on the doctors and consultants there.

“I'm very passionate about, and committed to, people's rights, but not in a stupid way. I found that we're better working together. I know that some companies use it as a strap line, but together we really are stronger.”

Thanks to Kevin, the hospital did not close down, and, shortly after, he founded SPINE, a patient support group for patients, relatives and doctors within the spinal cord injury area. Today, the organisation has a professional setup and hosts a variety of different leisure and sports activities.

Forward together as a family Forward together as a family ”Dineo felt isolated after her ostomy operation and her family life suffered consequently.Then she began talking with an advisor from the Coloplast® Care support programme. That gave her an encouraging push in the right direction and now she’s confident and enjoying life again. Unfold story

“I felt so sad, but what can I say, as long as I’m alive! It was hectic for me every day at the hospital. I didn’t even want to see myself there anymore.”

Dineo lost hope because she was always sitting on a chair and was not even walking straight.

“Then one day God sent an angel. A lady from Coloplast gave me a call and asked me how I was feeling after being out of hospital having a stoma.”

Dineo got help with getting the right products, and that was a turning point for Dineo.

“Oh my God, I didn’t believe it! I slept like a baby that night. I felt so free and alive again, my life started to change after that day. I was so shocked and happy at the same time, I started to smile again, I could walk straight, even play with my daughter again. Before I was always crying and couldn’t focus on my child. Now I was free and comfortable, maintained my stoma well, ate well, wore my clothes again, no more tears!”


Forward together with healthcare professionals everywhere

Forward together for improved wound care Forward together for improved wound care Madeleine Flanagan is one of the wound care experts who have partnered with Coloplast in the development of the HEAL programme. HEAL aims to increase knowledge of modern wound healing principles amongst healthcare professionals and improve the standard of care for wound patients everywhere. Unfold story

Hospitals and other health organisations are experiencing cuts on professional wound care management education, which is threatening the standard of care significantly. HEAL is Coloplast’s global educational programme that’s developed in close collaboration with international wound care experts with the aim of increasing knowledge about modern wound healing principles and improving the standard of care for wound patients around the world.

“The HEAL programme can help provide structured clinically based education that’s been designed by health professionals for health professionals – it’s really well-designed, engaging, keeps people’s interest and is flexible. The individual can learn at home; they haven’t got time at work anymore to go to training and they sometimes can’t even access computer terminals to do online learning – so to provide a flexible package that’s well-designed is really relevant.”

Madeleine is a big believer in the power of access to education. It is imperative that healthcare professionals are in a position where they can continuously improve and learn new skills.

“Access to professional education for health care professionals is restricted and limited these days, so the HEAL programme is a real opportunity to give people access to education that is well thought out and planned from an educational perspective rather than a promotional perspective.”

Forward together for improved care Forward together for improved care Kevan’s first experience of the Pinderfield rehab unit was as a patient. Now he is a member of its multi-disciplinary management team and works closely with nurses like Kay in running the patient activity groups.​ Unfold story

At the age of 19, Kevin was in a car accident that left him with a spinal cord injury. 33 years later, the spinal unit at his local hospital considered closing and moving the unit to another hospital. Kevin refused to accept the sad destiny of his local hospital and decided to fight to keep the spinal unit open to him and other patients who depended on the doctors and consultants there.

“I cannot stand when things are not right. They should be right. I don't know what it is in me, I really don't know why I have this innate desire to make things right. I see something that's wrong I want it to be made right, and I will fight.”

Thanks to Kevin, the hospital did not close and, shortly after, he founded SPINE, a patient support group for patient, relatives and doctors within the spinal cord injury area where he is now Chief Executive. He is also part of the multi-disciplinary management team at the Pinderfield rehab unit where he was once a patient, and he aims to keep improving the standard of care that patients can receive.


Forward together and learning together Forward together and learning together Mauro Pinheiro has been a urologist for 13 years and specialises in penile implants and prostate cancer surgery. He has enjoyed furthering his expertise through various Coloplast programmes, and has particularly valued the insights gained​ Unfold story

“Helping people is why you become a doctor. You need to keep that motivation every day and renew that commitment with every patient. The day you forget your passion and the reason why you became a doctor, it’s better to change profession.”

Mauro feels that his relationship with Coloplast is very important. As he puts it, it is very much like team work, and working together is key for him when it comes to giving the patients the best possible health outcome.

“We are aiming for the best for the patient. Especially when things don’t go as planned, when the job is tough and we are facing a difficult situation, our collaboration is key to find the best solution together. We discuss how to find the best materials and products for the patient and I trust that Coloplast will always do a good job.”

“Beyond the quality of the products, the communication and the support, Coloplast is also a partner in providing access to knowledge and keeping us (surgeons) up to date with technological innovation, surgical techniques, and giving us access to learnings from peers: best practice in surgery and surgical team work.”

Mauro has learned a lot through Coloplast programmes, especially in the penile implants area in the US. By watching the surgical teams working, he has learned how to work faster and build a more performant team (nurses/ CP/ surgeon) when he operates.

By sponsoring events and congresses, Coloplast brings people together to reinforce knowledge sharing and the community. That also plays an important role in introducing residents to urology as most of them are focused on robotics.

“I am focused every day on preparing the necessary changes. What do I need to deliver today to build the best possible future? I take time to speak to patients to understand in depth the impact of their condition on their lives, how it also impacts their work, and their family. Often we need to go deeper in the conversation to identify precisely what the specific needs of the person are. There is not one fits all solution, each individual is unique and the solution is unique too.”

Forward together with nurses everywhere Forward together with nurses everywhere 60 years ago, one nurse had an idea that sparked the formation of our company. Today we collaborate with over 850 nurses across 23 different countries. Their invaluable input helps us to determine the best possible solutions for people with intimate healthcare needs. Unfold story

Back in 1954 when nurse Elise Sørensen wanted to help her sister who had just had an ostomy operation, the foundation was laid for Coloplast’s lifelong partnership with nurses around the world. Elise’s sister was afraid to go out in public, fearing that her stoma might leak. Listening to her sister’s problems, Elise conceived the idea of the world’s first adhesive ostomy bag.

Based on Elise’s idea, Aage Louis-Hansen, a civil engineer and plastics manufacturer, and his wife Johanne Louis-Hansen, a trained nurse, created the ostomy bag. An ostomy bag that helped Thora – and thousands of people like her – to live the life they want to lead. A simple solution that makes a difference.

That tradition is still alive and well in our company, and Louise (right) is just one example of that. A paediatric enterostomal therapy nurse, Louise has devoted her life to raising awareness and teaching other nurses all over the world. She is the former chairperson of the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists (WCET) and has long been a member of the Coloplast Ostomy Forum (COF).

Her goal has always been and remains to help as many people as possible live the life they want to live.

“Coloplast is very good at bringing people together. Coloplast and nurses share the same goal. We want to improve the patients’ quality of life.”


Forward together for even more innovative solutions


How will we go forward together in R&D?

How will we go forward together in R&D?

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How will we go forward together in R&D?


Forward together with better Access to Healthcare


Forward together for better ostomy care Forward together for better ostomy care The Access to Healthcare programme has worked with Argentina’s Ostomy Association since 2012 for improvements​ in the ostomy law. Their successes have made it possible for nurses and doctors to receive specialist training in ostomy​ care from advisors like Flavia. Unfold story

“She always has a lot of dedication to her work, she is always available to remove doubt from both doctors
and patients”.

It is clear that Flavia is very respected in her field. Tenacity is a word that is often used to describe her, and her commitment is always at the highest level.

Since 2012, Access to Healthcare has fought with Argentina’s Ostomy Association to continuously develop the Argentinean ostomy law – to provide better care and better access to products and treatment for people with a stoma.

Due to a persistent, joint effort, the ostomy guidelines in Argentina have now improved, enabling advisors like Flavia to assist and train doctors and nurses who are not experts in ostomy – to ensure that patients are brought back to a position where they can live the life they want.

For Flavia herself, it’s really quite simple. As she puts it, “The idea of helping people is what motivates me. We can help people to continue with their lifestyle.”

Forward together and in control Forward together and in control The Access to Healthcare partnership​ programme is a Coloplast initiative that​ aims to raise the standard of healthcare in different countries across the globe. In Brazil, it helped Rafael return to winning ways by giving him access to the right catheter and helping him to establish a healthier​ catheterisation routine.​ Unfold story

Rafael was a professional soccer player until he was 20 years old. Then, he hit his head on the sandbar and became tetraplegic. After a while he became an athlete participating in wheelchair rugby, and after talking to other athletes, he discovered that he could do catheterisation clean and that he could do it alone.

He saw Coloplast products for the first time in the US in connection with a competition and tried SpeediCath® for the first time during this competition. According to Rafael, it changed his life.

“Before, I had lots of urinary infections, every 3 months. I was out of training and competition and my quality of life was affected. I was often hospitalised and that affected my family life as well.”

Rafael was able to find the help that he needed through Access to Healthcare. The AtH programme, in partnership with the Brazilian Society of Urology, has worked hard to produce updated national guidelines for continence care with a focus on shifting the standard of care from indwelling to coated intermittent catheters like SpeediCath®. The results have been a changed mindset towards coated intermittent catheters through well-received guidelines provided to more than 500 urologists from 26 different municipalities in Brazil.

For Rafael, there is only one way: forward.

“My message is: Do not give up, do clean catheterisation – this can change your life as it changed mine. Now I'm happy and living well with quality of life.”

Forward together and never giving up Forward together and never giving up For the past 20 years, Makoto Ohama has been fighting for better care for catheter users in Japan. With support from the Access to Healthcare partnership programme, he​ has hosted seminars, approached politicians and united users for a change in legislation. In 2016, his efforts culminated in an improved​ reimbursement system, and better catheters are now available nationwide.​ ​ Unfold story

To make real changes, you must raise your voice. For the past 20 years, Makoto Ohama, founder of Japan Spinal Cord Foundation, has been fighting for better care for catheter users in Japan.

In 2016, the Japanese healthcare authorities decided to improve reimbursement for intermittent catheters after Makoto Omaha and the Access to Healthcare programme had advocated for better rights for years. This represents a breakthrough in the Japanese market for Coloplast, who will have an easier time offering the newest and best catheters to people living with incontinence in Japan.

“Medical and social care and systems for Japanese spinal cord injured people are extremely inadequate,” says Makoto Ohama. “SCI patients have limited access to the latest information about products. In order to open up the prospect of healing of spinal cord injury and establishing a comprehensive system, the establishment of the "Japan Spinal Cord Foundation" is absolutely necessary. So, I really want to share this information. This was my main motivation for starting this project.”

Japan generally has an advanced and very modern healthcare system, and with improved reimbursement in place, the monthly supplement per catheter user will increase with more than 50%. There are close to 100,000 people in Japan living with incontinence who need a catheter and they will now have access to better and more modern products.

Forward together for the best result Forward together for the best result Access to Healthcare supports the China Program for Training and Education in the Treatment of Diabetic Foot and Relevant Chronic Wounds. In just five years the programme has established wound training centres in 42 hospitals, trained more than 9,000 healthcare professionals across​ 20 provinces, and ensured that Mr. Feng and 1,200 other diabetic foot ulcer patients​ received treatment rather than amputation.​ Unfold story

Mr. Feng has no problem accepting that he is a diabetic. However, the foot ulcer that has pained him as a consequence of his diabetic condition is something that he is glad to have treated.
“Well, diabetes isn't terrible, but a diabetic foot ulcer is truly awful. The pain, in particular, made me sleepless at night. During the day, I was crying out all the time. The physical pain I was in and the mental suffering that came along with it even made people feel anxious to have the foot cut off.”

Both Mr. Feng and his doctors are very pleased about the training programme, which has brought wound care in the country to a new level. Dr. Yuan Baozhong is one of those who is happy about things these days.

“With the experience that comes with the training, we have made improvements in multi-disciplinary cooperation, individuality-concerned treatment and personalised treatment, and selected wound dressings in a more diversified way.”

Access to Healthcare has supported the China Programme of Training and Education on the Treatment of Diabetic Foot and Relevant Chronic Wounds from 2010 to 2015. During the execution of the Programme, wound centres in China witnessed considerable development, benefiting over 4,900 patients with diabetic feet in cumulative term.

“Sometimes, the disease made me unquiet and caused trouble to others. Neighbouring patients were irritated with me. The torment brought by the disease is virtually unspeakable. Thanks to Doctor Wang's treatment, my wounds gradually got better and I experienced less pain. I don't have trouble eating and sleeping anymore. I’m also in a way more relaxed mood. I feel very good!”

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