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After having ostomy surgery, ordering medical supplies will be an ongoing necessity. If you’re new to this, placing your first order may feel completely overwhelming. As a family owned and operated business since 1961, our goal at The Parthenon Company is to help you navigate through the ordering process.

Here are some things you should know before placing an order for ostomy products.

1. What type of ostomy do you have?

This is a common misunderstanding for new ostomates or if your loved one had ostomy surgery. There are three main types of ostomies; colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy. It’s okay if you’re unsure, you can simply call your doctor or nurse to ask which one applies. Knowing which type of ostomy you have will help us help you.

2. Get to know the manufacturers.

Lucky for you, there are several manufacturers of ostomy appliances to choose from these days. When my father started Parthenon over 50 years ago, people with an ostomy didn't have many choices. Some of the most popular brands we carry include Coloplast, ConvaTec, Hollister, and NuHope.

3. Create a list of reference numbers.

Now that you know your ostomy type and brand, next you’ll need to know which products you prefer using. All ostomy supplies have reference (or item) numbers. If you don't know these numbers, don’t worry, we’ll help you find the products you need. For ease when placing the next order, please save your invoice or packing slip, as it includes product information from your previous order.

4. How much should I order?

Knowing how much to order depends a lot on your needs. If you’re a new ostomate or have peristomal skin irritation, you might need more supplies because of frequent appliance changes. As you begin to heal from surgery, your needs may change or you might try different products. We suggest you keep at least a one month supply on hand at all times.

5. Be prepared to choose alternate products.

While we stock most products, our inventory changes daily and sometimes manufacturers have a backorder, so you might not be able to get the products you want for a few weeks or even months. Have a backup plan of alternative products or be open to trying something different just in case this happens.

6. Ask about free samples.

Many manufacturers offer samples of their newest ostomy products which you can request online. This is a great way to try new things. Please feel free to call us directly at 1-800-453-8898 to ask about sample availability.

Coloplast free samples

ConvaTec free samples

Hollister free samples

Nu-Hope free samples

7. Know which supplies fall under your medical insurance coverage.

Most online suppliers and retail medical stores take credit cards or bank checks, but not all companies take insurance or Medicare. Talk to the billing department to ensure that maximum benefits are received. If using insurance or Medicare, have the account information handy. At Parthenon, we only file claims with Medicare and you should receive direct reimbursement 4-5 weeks after filing.

8. How long will it take to receive your order?

In most cases, you'll receive your order from The Parthenon Company within 2-4 business days. Since each medical supplier is different, it’s important to ask how long shipment will take, especially if you’re running low. Be aware that shipping might cost extra with some suppliers, however many offer free shipping with a minimum purchase. For urgent needs, Parthenon can ship overnight for a fee. In this case, you (or an authorized signer) may need to be at home for the delivery.

9. Ask about the return policy.

It’s always a good idea to ask about the policy for returning ostomy supplies as return shipping can sometimes be the responsibility of the customer. Once you receive your supplies, always make sure they're the items you ordered. At Parthenon, we accept returns of most new, unopened items for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of the shipment date.

With one of the largest selections of ostomy manufacturers online, we make it easy to shop for medical supplies. Search our online store, request a catalog, and learn about our lowest price guarantee. Call us at 1-800-453-8898 or visit for your next order. Our number one priority is you!

This article was made possible by a sponsorship from The Parthenon Company.

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