September 14, 2015

Caring for a medically fragile child requiring tracheostomy care at home can be frightening and overwhelming for parents. As you learn about the care your child will need at home, you may begin to question your ability to provide the necessary care for your child. You should know you are not alone and Epic Health Services is here to help!

Epic Health Services is an industry leader in pediatric home health care. What we know, and more importantly what our licensed nurses know and understand, is how to work closely and compassionately with both the child and his or her family to provide the best care possible.

The essential principles of caring for a child with a tracheostomy are based on maintaining safety, facilitating communication and preventing complications associated with the procedure. The safe transition to home can be accomplished by using a multidisciplinary approach to coordinate all facets of tracheostomy care at home.

One of the oldest surgical procedures, tracheostomies were first successfully performed on children in the late 19th Century. Today, tracheostomies are a more common procedure and life saving for many infants and children requiring airway and respiratory support.

A tracheotomy is an operation in which a small opening is made into the windpipe (trachea), usually between the 3rd and 4th tracheal rings. Once the area or skin has healed, a tube is inserted into this opening through which the child breathes.

The ongoing care and management of a tracheostomy requires the following key tasks:

  • Skin Care. The skin around your child’s trach will need special care. Secretions (mucus) from the trach can cause the skin to become red and sore if allowed to remain on the skin for too long. As much as possible, the skin should be kept clean and dry. – See more
  • Trach Ties. There are two sides to the trach ties. There is a dull side which lies next to your child’s neck, and the fluffy side that lies outward and is the side where the Velcro side will stick. Trach ties will need to be cut to fit your child’s neck.
  • Suctioning. Keeping the trach free of secretions is very important. With a tracheostomy, a child cannot close off their airway to create enough pressure when coughing to remove secretions. By inserting a small catheter into the trach tube, mucus is removed and the child can breathe more easily. Effective suctioning can decrease the possibility of upper airway infections, pneumonia and a possible oxygen requirement.
  • Tube Changes.  Tracheostomy tube changes may only need to be changed monthly* and may seem difficult at first. It will be best to establish a routine of changing the tube when your child is most comfortable and you are not feeling as anxious. (*Always consult with your doctor on your required care).
  • Ongoing Monitoring. It is very important for you to know the signs and symptoms of infection, complications, and/or other problems. Also prepare an emergency bag with everything that may be needed for both routine and emergency care.

Caring for a child with a tracheostomy can be challenging but with the right help, education, and support your family can adapt. Our experienced, licensed nurses work closely with each family to develop an environment that not only nourishes the development of each child, but also supports the entire family. It’s why we approach caring for each child as if we were caring for a member of our own family.

Our pediatric private duty skilled nursing services are available to match your specific situation offering exactly the care you need at exactly the time you need. Contact us today! We would love to see how we can help your child, whether you need us for just a few tasks or for more involved care.