Multidisciplinary guidance for safe tracheostomy care
during the COVID‐19 pandemic published
Key stakeholders in UK tracheostomy care collaborate together to improve care
The COVID‐19 pandemic is causing a surge in patients who need a tracheostomy. These temporary tubes are inserted into the neck to help recovery from prolonged ventilation in the critically ill and are lifesaving for about 10% of patients admitted to Intensive Care Units; often the sickest and most complex patients. The professional bodies representing staff who care for patients with tracheostomies during illness, rehabilitation, and recovery have collaborated together to produce standard guidelines. This work compliments NHS England and NHS Improvement’s National Patient Safety Improvement Programme’s ‘Safe Tracheostomy Care’ workstream as part of the NHS COVID‐19 response.
“These consensus recommendations are based on wide-ranging expert opinion and informed by the best available evidence,” said Dr Brendan McGrath, National Clinical Advisor for Tracheostomy & Intensive Care Consultant at Manchester University Hospital. They will help standardise the approach to managing complex patients with tracheostomies and improve the quality and safety of care delivered by diverse staff.”
The project brings together work from surgeons, anaesthetists, intensive care staff, nurses, physiotherapists, speech & language therapists and importantly, from patient groups. Patients with tracheostomies are particularly vulnerable to problems with care and these guidelines build on previous cross-speciality projects to improve safety. Due to the surge in numbers, patients with tracheostomies are sometimes being cared for in unfamiliar locations by staff with limited tracheostomy experience.