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Tracheostomy Care

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Tracheostomy (trach) care is done to ensure your trach tube and the area around it stays clean. This helps prevent a clogged tube and decreases the risk of infection. Trach care includes suctioning and cleaning your skin and parts of the tube. Your healthcare provider will show you how to care for your trach tube, and what to do in an emergency.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

Antibiotics:

This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent infections:

  • Wash your hands: Always wash your hands before and after any trach tube care.

  • Clean your trach equipment: Use clean or sterile trach care methods and clean your equipment as directed.

  • Keep your neck clean and dry: Change the gauze and trach ties when they are wet or dirty.

  • Keep your mouth clean: Saliva and mucus contain germs that cause infection if they enter your airway. Brush your teeth twice a day and suction your mouth as needed to help prevent infections.

Check for signs of infection:

Wash your hands. Then remove your trach dressing. Look for redness or swelling of the skin around your tube. Clean the area and replace the trach dressing as directed. Do not cut the gauze. Fold the gauze instead so you do not breathe in the cut fibers.

If you are having trouble breathing:

  • Try to clear the trach tube: Cough to help move mucus, water, or irritants out of your airway. Suction the tube if coughing does not clear your airway.

  • Gently move the trach tube: Your tube opening may be against your airway. Gently reposition the tube to make sure it sits in your airway properly.

  • Remove your inner cannula: Look for secretions inside the inner cannula. Clean the inner cannula if it has mucus in it.

  • Replace your trach tube: Insert a new trach tube. Try a smaller size if a regular sized tube will not go in properly.

  • Call 911: Have someone call 911 if you still cannot breathe easily.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or pulmonologist if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You see more secretions, or they are no longer clear or white. Secretions may be thicker than usual or smell bad.

  • You see thick, red tissue around your stoma, or the skin is red, swollen, or leaking pus.

  • Your trach cuff is leaking or broken.

  • It is harder to breathe than usual.

  • It hurts to breathe or swallow.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your breathing problems are getting worse.

  • There is blood on your trach tube or stoma.

  • You cannot insert a new trach tube and you are having breathing problems.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Tracheostomy Care (Aftercare Instructions)

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