Patients who live with a tracheostomy tube depend on it to breathe. According to Medtronic, more than 100,000 Americans receive a tracheostomy tube placement each year with a significant increase among those aged 55 and older.
Here are our 4 Top Tips for Nurses to ensure the tracheostomy care they provide is as comfortable and effective as possible:
Pay attention to body language — Patient anxiety and stress levels can be reduced with effective communication and engagement. It’s extremely important to beware of your patient’s gestures, head nods, or writing as these are forms of communication they will often use since their verbal communication abilities are inhibited.
Keep Supplies by your Patient’s Bedside — This ensures that you will have easy access for suctioning, tube and stoma care, delivery of oxygen, tube replacement and artificial ventilation.
Secure New Ties to the Tracheostomy Tube Flanges — You will need to do this before removing the old ones; and place a sterile sponge under the flanges to absorb secretions.
Perform proper cleanings — Any skin opening can be at risk for infection which is why daily care must be a priority for patients with a tracheostomy. When cleaning around the patient’s stoma, be sure that you are gentle (rubbing can irritate the patient’s skin). Moving slowly and providing tender care can lessen pain levels, tissue trauma, and help to reduce patient anxiety.
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