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Adult outpatient tracheostomy care: practices and perspectives

Justin M Garner, Michael Shoemaker-Moyle, Christine B Franzese
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2007, 136 (2): 301-6

OBJECTIVES: To determine the attitudes, opinions, and current practice of adult outpatient tracheostomy care from the surgeon and primary care physician's perspective.

STUDY DESIGN: Multidisciplinary physician survey.

RESULTS: Found 53.4% (667 of 1250) and 28.9% (404 of 1400) of otolaryngologists and internists responded, respectively; 47% of otolaryngologists lack standardized tracheostomy discharge protocols. General ward nurses most commonly (33%) provide discharge education. A total of 64% of otolaryngologists felt primarily responsible for tracheostomy care and follow-up; 48% expect the primary physician to provide some or all tracheostomy care. Ninety-seven percent of internists received little or no residency training in tracheostomy care, which was significantly associated with decreased comfort (P<0.0001) and willingness (P<0.0001) to care for these patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Tracheostomy care is a concerted effort between the patient, surgeon, primary physician, and interdisciplinary team. Otolaryngologists should strive to standardize tracheostomy discharge, education, and follow-up practices.

SIGNIFICANCE: Disparities are highlighted between disciplines in their comfort, willingness, and knowledge of outpatient tracheostomy care.

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