The last thing anyone wants is to see their loved ones in pain. Taking care of a patient that requires intensive care is not easy. It can be quite overwhelming when you’ve been given the responsibility to nurse them back to health.
And nursing someone that requires the use of a tracheotomy tube requires skills, certification, and experience. Studies show that there is an increased risk in children that have been diagnosed with an upper airway disorder caused by artificial airway.
Therefore, before you decide to shoulder the responsibility, it’s best to learn how tracheotomy works. Here’s all you need to know:
What is Tracheotomy?
A tracheotomy is an procedure in which surgeons create a small opening in the trachea (windpipe) through the skin of the neck.
Once the skin heals, the tracheotomy tube is kept in the stoma (the opening) to prevent the hole from closing.
If your loved one required tracheotomy during their stay at the hospital, but they’re overall healthy, they may be allowed to go home. But if they require intensive care even after being discharged, they’ll need to use a tracheotomy at home.
A tracheotomy consists of 3 components:
- The obturator:the obturator inserts the tracheostomy tube into the trachea before being quickly removed.
- The outer cannula:the outer cannula is the one that helps keeps the trachea open.
- The inner cannula:this is placed in the outer cannula. It can be removed, cleaned, and then put back inside.
When the breathing tube is in place, your loved one will need suctioning. The pediatric tach needs to be suctioned every two hours. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use suctioning catheters when there is:
- Problems with the flow of oxygen
- Audible emissions
- Difficulty breathing
According to the American Thoracic Society (ATC), it’s recommended that the pediatric tach is suctioned daily at bedtime to avoid unnecessary suctioning, and to ensure that the tracheostomy tube doesn’t open.
In addition to this, you will need to follow strict guidelines when caring for patients that require critical care. You’ll have to make sure to:
- Wash and dry your hands properly
- Prepare a new set of trach ties and secure them properly in order cleanse the tube
- Ensure that tube is properly lubricated before inserting the obturator into the tube
- Suction the patient’s tracheostomy properly
- When inserting the new trach tube, lay the patient their back, place a rolled blanket under the shoulders, and tilt their head back slightly
Tilting the patients head back too far will result in breathing problems and other difficulties.
Remember that caring for such patients requires meticulous attention. Even a minor mistake can be critical to their health.
We offer dedicated home care services in Philadelphia, PA and specialize in pediatric tracheostomy and respite care, as well as ventilation care and medication administration.
Contact us at (215) 289-9005 to learn more.