NurseSim Classic

Performing Tracheostomy Care – Dressing


Tracheostomies are artificial airways, which enter the trachea through a ‘cutaneous stoma’ in the neck. This may be temporary or permanent. The purpose of changing a tracheostomy dressing is to perform a comprehensive assessment and provide appropriate management of the tracheostomy site to prevent potential adverse events and/or to manage existing complications. As with wounds, the frequency of dressing changes depends on the level of mucous and discharge, but is generally performed 1–3 times a day (JBI 2014).

Before performing this procedure, it is imperative that nurses have a good knowledge of wound management and infection control principles, including ANTT. Understanding the pathophysiology related to a tracheostomy is crucial in order to accurately assess and manage the stoma. Nurses will need to comply with industry requirements, National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (second edition), organisational guidelines and procedural direction to safely perform this procedure.

Always use caution when caring for a person with a tracheostomy in regards to safety and airway management. Emergency equipment should be at the client’s bedside at all times (Xue 2013). Two nurses will be needed for this procedure.

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