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How to Take Care of a Tracheostomy at Home

A tracheostomy is an artificial opening into the windpipe (trachea). This hole is called a stoma. It lets air go in and out of the lungs, and needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to prevent airway obstruction, impaired ventilation, and infection, as well as other potentially lethal consequences. It is crucial that trach patients who live at home take special care to properly irrigate their tracheostomy.

 

Supplies needed:

  • Trach care kit
  • Tissue

 

Trach Care Procedure with Tube in Place – always wash hands prior to starting.

  • Draw 3-5 mL of saline into your syringe and set it aside
  • Take a small amount hydrogen peroxide and pour it into the container of your trach kit
  • Soak the inner cannula in the hydrogen peroxide. You must remove the inner cannula before irrigating to prevent mucus in the cannula from being pushed back into the lungs.
  • Take two deep, slow breaths. On third breath inject saline syringe into your trachea. This will cause you to cough up mucus so have tissue handy
  • Repeat the first five steps twice and then continue to repeat until mucous is cleared.
  • Use the brush in your trach care kit to clean out the inner cannula. Rinse well with tap water, or saline
  • Shake excess water off the inner cannula or dry with pipe cleaners
  • Replace the inner cannula into the track tube and lock it back into place
  • Change trach ties as needed
  • After irrigating, perform routine trach site care

 

Procedure without a Tube in Place - always wash hands prior to starting.

  • Draw 3-5 mL of saline into your syringe
  • Take 2 deep, slow breaths. On third breath inject saline into trachea.  Mucus will come up so have tissue handy
  • Repeat these three steps as needed until mucous is cleared

 

If you have any discomfort redness, puss or feverish symptoms after cleaning immediately seek medical attention. Also, it is very important that you clean the site around your stoma to further prevent infection and to help break up excess mucus.

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