Tracheostomy Care: Five Major Steps
Tracheostomy is a small opening, created by an incision, through the skin in your neck and into the trachea or windpipe. This is important to help protect the airways and to make a way through which breathing can be given, like by a machine.
When is it necessary?
Below are some circumstances when a tracheostomy is needed:
- There is obstruction of the mouth or throat.
- There is difficulty in breathing because of swelling or pulmonary conditions.
- There is a long-term need for a life support system aka the breathing machine.
How do we take care of it?
In caring for a tracheostomy, we should follow its steps cautiously in order for its effectivity. Community Connection Home Health, a Health Care in Desoto, Texas, lays down these phases:
Care of the Skin and Stoma
The most important part among the tracheostomy care stages is taking care of the skin around the tracheostomy. The opening (or what we call as the stoma) needs to be cleaned at least four times a day until it is fully healed. When it is healed, it is important to keep the skin around it clean and dry by regularly cleaning it twice a day.
Changing of the tracheostomy ties
The cotton tracheostomy ties or a tube holder is one that holds the tracheostomy tube in place. These ties need to be cleaned regularly by changing them whenever they become wet or dry. Just a quick reminder, do not pull the ties too much because you might cause a decrease of the blood flow to the patient’s head, which can result to too much pressure to the skin of the neck.
This refers to the amount of moisture in the air that has a big effect on secretions. Using a tracheostomy to breathe, the air is not filtered, warmed, or humidified. This might cause the secretions to be thick and difficult to cough out. It is important to check the amount of fluid that the patient should drink each day. Drinking plenty of fluid can keep the mucus loose. Another way of adding moisture is by squirting saline straight into a tracheostomy tube. This helps clear the mucus.
Loosening and suctioning of the secretions
To help loosen the mucus and move it up and out of the airway, there are two ways:
Chest Physical Therapy (CPT)
This uses a combination of manual cupping or clapping and shaking to move the secretions away from the walls of the small breathing tubes and into the large breathing tubes.
This is needed when the mucus in the airway is too thick or too much to be coughed out. One indication of this is when a blue color is seen around the lips and mouth, a sign that shows that the patient is not receiving enough oxygen and that the airway needs to be cleared. Most people need to be suctioned at least twice a day. There are two types of suctioning:
It is done to remove the secretions and mucus that are collected in and around the flange end of the tracheostomy tube. This can be done as often as needed.
Deep or catheter suctioning
This is used to remove secretions from deep in the airway. It involves placing a small plastic tube down the airway through the tracheostomy tube and using a gentle vacuum to remove such secretions.
Changing the tracheostomy tube
This can be done at home, either by you or with the help of a home care provider, like a health care in Desoto, Texas, called the Community Connection Home Health. The time interval of changing the tracheostomy tube differs from the special needs of every patient. Changing is necessary if suctioning no longer helps in unblocking the moisture or secretions on the tube.
If you have a loved one that needs a tracheostomy care, you need not worry about how to do it. Here at Community Connection Home Health, our nurses will help you take care of your loved ones. This can be done at the comforts of you home! For inquiries, call 972-224-9911.