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Things To Know About Tracheostomy


by Bea | October 8, 2018

The word tracheostomy does not sound like a simple word—it’s one of those medical terms that can make even the smartest person in the room feel a little insecure (yes, including adults).

Many people think that the term has something to do with a rare disease that may be hard to treat or worse—one that eventually leads to death. The word tracheostomy can scare a lot of people away, especially since it sounds like such a complex medical term that is difficult to mentally grasp. But, just like we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we also shouldn’t judge a word by the way it sounds. The truth is that tracheostomy isn’t as bad a word as it sounds, and it’s really not that hard to understand. 

The first and most important thing to know about tracheostomy is..

it is not a disease, but a medical procedure. Simply put, it’s a procedure in which doctors make a little opening in a patient’s neck and insert a little tube into his or her windpipe so that air can enter into his or her lungs. 

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

The second thing to know about tracheostomy is..

once it is done, there is a special way to care for the tube that the doctors insert inside the neck. The tube is called a tracheostomy tube. Below are the steps to taking proper care of the tracheostomy tube:

  1. Make sure to attend to the tube twice a day.
  2. Wash your hands before handling the tube (or wear gloves if you need to).
  3. Change the tube and the suction.
  4. Clean the stoma.
  5. Check for any signs of infection and make sure to get medical help if needed.
  6. Use a cotton swab dipped into sterile water or saline.
  7. Wipe outward from the stoma.
  8. Dry the skin with swabs or gauze.
  9. Use a dressing if necessary.

It isn’t hard at all to take proper care of a tracheostomy tube. The most important thing to remember is to keep everything clean and as germ/bacteria-free as possible. 

The third thing to know about tracheostomy is..

as with every medical procedure, is that there is always a community of people who have gone through the same thing. Finding a group of people who have shared the same medical experience can be very beneficial to any patient—especially children. 

Because children have a tendency to get frightened by a medical procedure like a tracheostomy, the best thing an adult can do to help dispel the fear is to find child-friendly books that not only de-mystify medical terms like these, but even give information about it in a way that children will be able to understand. Simple informative books that use simple terms will certainly help explain a not-so-simple procedure to a young child. Other things that may help would be having conversations about the procedure, and even engaging in events or gatherings put together specifically for people who have gone through the same experience.

After all, knowing that you are not alone will always go a long way.

Read about Tracheostomy as we follow Tracy in this Mediwonderland book series, learn about how she has a tracheostomy inserted and makes lots of friends!

Follow Tracy as she has a tracheostomy inserted and makes lots of friends.