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National Tracheostomy Safety Project

Why is important to know about tracheostomies? Watch Dr McGrath from the National Safety Tracheostomy Project explain more.
You can expect to meet patients of tracheostomies and laryngectomies on certain wards, Intensive Care Units, HazMat units, for example. But patients do turn up on more general wards and locations throughout the hospital, outpatients, A & E departments, where they’re perhaps a little less expected. And so I think all staff need to understand the fundamental basic principles behind tracheostomy and laryngectomy care. We on Intensive Care need to be trained and need to reinforce our training. Because even where we look after tracheostomies regularly, we’re not perfect so we can still make mistakes and get things wrong. But that applies even more to a ward bay setting, where the frequency of even looking after a patient with a tracheostomy is lower.
And then the potential risks there are much higher. What worries me is when I go to a ward it seems like basic care hasn’t been adhered to. Because whilst tracheostomies are easy to manage, and easy to keep clean, and easy to change and deal with when you have the expertise, that lack of expertise or that lack of confidence in dealing with tracheostomies in a routine fashion, can be absolutely disastrous.

Why is it important for health professionals to have training in tracheostomies? In this video by the National Tracheostomy Safety Project (NTSP), we hear from the team behind the NTSP, Dr Brendan McGrath Consultant in Anaesthetist and Intensivist in Manchester and National Clinical Advisor on Tracheostomy for the NHS, Dr Peter Alexander, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensivist, and Mr Jay Goswami, Consultant Ear Nose and Throat surgeon.

The NTSP is a UK charity dedicated to improving the quality and safety of care for patients with tracheostomies and laryngectomies through education.

The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative (GTC) is a Quality Improvement Collaboration between hospitals around the world with similar aims to the NTSP, and providing additional resources to support change in our healthcare systems. The five standards promoted by the GTC are:

  • Team Based Care, including regular multidisciplinary meetings
  • Standard Protocols implemented by all members of the team
  • Staff Education
  • Patient and Caregiver Involvement in all aspects of care
  • Data Collection to track progress and compare outcomes

The NTSP secured funding from the Health Foundation to implement the GTC resources into 20 diverse UK hospitals in 2016. This project is called Improving Tracheostomy Care (ITC).

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What are the advantages of standardising protocols, care and education about tracheostomies?

Later this week we will see how the principles of the GTC and the NTSP are applied by the Trachy Team at The Royal London Hospital.

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