Tracheotomy is a common procedure in intensive care units, and nurses must provide proper care to tracheostomy patients to prevent complications. One of the most important considerations is effective mobilization of secretions, and a suction catheter is the most important tool for that purpose. Each bedside should be equipped with a functional suctioning system, an oxygen source, a manual resuscitation bag, and a complete tracheostomy kit, which should accompany patients wherever they go in the hospital. Complications include infection, tracheomalacia, skin breakdown, and tracheoesophageal fistula. Tracheostomy emergencies include hemorrhage, tube dislodgement and loss of airway, and tube obstruction; such emergencies are managed more effectively when all necessary supplies are readily available at the bedside. This article describes how to provide proper care in the intensive care unit, strategies for preventing complications, and management of tracheostomy emergencies.
ARTICLE| October 01 2013
Tracheostomy Care and Complications in the Intensive Care Unit
Linda L. Morris, PhD, APN, CCNS;
Linda L. Morris is a clinical nurse specialist in respiratory care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an associate professor of clinical anesthesiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. She is also on the board of directors of the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative, an international group of specialists dedicated to research and quality outcomes for patients with tracheostomies.
Corresponding author: Linda L. Morris, phd, apn, ccns, fccm, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 251 E Huron St, Feinberg Pavilion, Ste 8-330, Chicago, IL 60611 (e-mail: email@example.com).
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Andrea Whitmer, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC;
Crit Care Nurse (2013) 33 (5): 18–30.
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Linda L. Morris, Andrea Whitmer, Erik McIntosh; Tracheostomy Care and Complications in the Intensive Care Unit. Crit Care Nurse 1 October 2013; 33 (5): 18–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn2013518
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