What patient education about tracheostomy care must be given prior to hospital discharge?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Jonathan P Lindman, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Tracheostomy is still socially stigmatized and can intimidate both the patient and the family. The family's understanding and comfort are most important. Education must begin early, and preparations for discharge must be complete.

Before leaving the hospital, all members of the household should feel comfortable with replacing the outer cannula. Equipment includes saline, suction catheters, and a suction machine for hygiene; replacement inner cannulas; and a spare tube with an obturator. Occasionally, a patient requires humidification via tracheal collar. The most commonly overlooked or misunderstood item is the obturator, which is important in the atraumatic reinsertion of the outer cannula.

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