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What are some guidelines for the proper care of patients with a tracheostomy?

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Quick Answer

Some of the guidelines for proper care of patients with a tracheostomy are drinking plenty of fluids to keep airway moist; instilling a saline solution into the airways to clear secretions and stimulate a cough; and cleaning the inner cannula to ensure it does not become plugged, explains the Ear Nose & Throat Centers of Texas. The patient also needs to change the tracheostomy tie, change or replace the tracheostomy tube, and clean the suction catheters.

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Full Answer

Extra humidity is very important for a patient with a tracheostomy, because the mouth and nose, which moisten the air, are bypassed, explains the Ear Nose & Throat Centers of Texas. Besides drinking plenty of fluids to keep the airway moist, it is also recommended that patients use an ultrasonic stabilizer or a cool-mist humidifier in their home. The humidifier should be cleaned to decrease chances of infections. Patients are also advised to connect a suction catheter to the tubing, moisten the tip with saline solution and suction to remove secretions.

Different types of ties can be used when changing the tracheostomy tie, explains the Ear Nose & Throat Centers of Texas. These can be Velcro tube holders, bias tapes or twill tapes. After securing the tracheostomy with twill tape or Velcro, patients are advised to ensure that the tube is tight to the neck to prevent the tracheostomy tube from falling out. A good guideline is that the patient should be able to fit two fingers between the trach tie and the skin.

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