Tracheostomy care: Clinical practice patterns of pediatric otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons in a publicly funded (Canadian) health care system

Sunita K Rai, Theresa Holler, Evan J Propst, Nikolaus E Wolter, Reshma Amin
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2018, 115: 177-180

OBJECTIVES: To investigate variability in pediatric tracheostomy tube care practice patterns and access to resources across Canada.

METHODS: Canadian pediatric otolaryngologists-head & neck surgeons reported their own practice patterns for children with chronic tracheostomy tubes using a web-based, 29-item multiple choice and short answer questionnaire. Domains investigated included tracheostomy team membership, inpatient care practices, caregiver education, homecare resources, speech and communication, and completeness of emergency tracheostomy kits.

RESULTS: The response rate was 86.4% (38/44). Most respondents care for children with tracheostomy tubes as part of an inter-professional team (25/36; 69.4%) and arrange routine follow-up with a speech and language pathologist (22/36; 61.1%). However, the majority (23/34; 67.6%) of respondents do not formally reassess caregiver competencies (i.e. cardiopulmonary resuscitation, emergency tracheostomy care). Notably, respondents were also unsure 36.1% (13/36) of how frequently Shiley tracheostomy tubes should be washed and reused with the majority (15/36; 41.7%) reporting never. Most (15/36; 41.7%) respondents were also unsure of reuse recommendations for Bivona tracheostomy tubes. One third (12/36; 33.3%) of respondents were unsure about government-funded homecare services being provided in their community to children with tracheostomy tubes.

CONCLUSION: There is much variability in pediatric tracheostomy tube care practice patterns across Canada. Results suggest that an evidence-based Canadian clinical practice guideline may help to streamline care provided to Canadian children with tracheostomy tubes.

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