Background: Although a tracheostomy is a common procedure for patients who require prolonged mechanical ventilation, little evidence exists as to the best practices for performing tracheostomy care to maintain the airway and promote skin integrity. Therefore, variability is likely, which may negatively impact patient outcomes. This study described tracheostomy care practices of registered nurses (RNs) and respiratory therapists (RTs) who regularly perform tracheostomy care in critical care settings. Methodology: The descriptive study was conducted following informed consent. RNs (n=15) and RTs (n=5) were asked to perform tracheostomy care on a simulated mannequin patient. An array of supplies (both required and not necessary) was available to perform tracheostomy care. The procedure was video-recorded and the researchers also used an observation checklist. Equipment used and steps performed were compared to hospital policy and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Procedure Manual. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Results: The majority (80%) of participants were female and held a baccalaureate degree; median experience was 5 years. Equipment selection varied widely; supplies used by 50% or more of participants included non-sterile gloves, hydrogen peroxide, cotton swabs, disposable cannula, foam ties, and gauze dressings. The order of steps was variable with unique differences noted among all participants. The most common sequence was hand hygiene, clean flange, clean stoma, change inner cannula, change ties, and apply dressing. No one performed in the order recommended in the AACN Procedure Manual. Wide variability in practices emphasizes the need for establishing an evidence-based approach for performing tracheostomy care. Discussion: Research supported the belief that variation to technique and supplies does exist when performing tracheostomy care. Tracheostomy varied from provider to provider within one hospital unit, demonstrating the need for further research and protocols for tracheostomy care. Education on existing protocols and evidence-based practice should be conducted to ensure that providers are following unit protocols.
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Sole, Mary Lou
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
College of Nursing
Dissertations, Academic -- Nursing; Nursing -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Bolsega, Thomas, "Assessment of Tracheostomy Care Practices In a Simulated Setting" (2015). HIM 1990-2015. 1786.