Your visit to the hospital is complete and now you’re heading home with a tracheostomy tube. While it may seem like a complicated thing to manage on your own, this guide will help you understand how to safely and properly care for your trach. Plus, with the help of a family member or friend, you’ll be in even better hands! 

Overview of Your Tracheostomy 

In short, a tracheostomy is a tube inserted into a hole in your trachea (windpipe) to provide an alternative airway to assist with breathing. While it is surgically created, it can be maintained in the comfort of your own home. With a good understanding of how to take care of your tube, you can learn to manage your temporary or permanent trach with ease. 

Tips for Changing Your Tracheostomy Tube 

You may be advised to change your tube once a week depending on your situation. While following the directions your care provider gave you, use these helpful changing tips: 

  • Always have someone assisting you 
  • Use water or lubricating jelly 
  • Take a deep breath before taking out your dirty tube 
  • When placing the inner cannula into the outer cannula, be sure to lock it into place 

Tips for Cleaning Your Tracheostomy Tube 

When it comes to cleaning your tube, doing so properly is vital for preventing infection, which we’ll discuss next. Here are some cleaning tips to keep in mind: 

  • Don’t use chemicals or cleaning detergents – instead, use mild soap and clean water (or hydrogen peroxide if your tubes are not sterling-silver) 
  • Soak your supplies for a few minutes in order to loosen secretions 
  • Use a pipe cleaner to get through the tube 
  • Let your tube parts air dry for 2-3 hours 
  • Always check for cracks, foul odor or change of color and replace tubes if necessary 

Tips for Preventing Infection 

As mentioned earlier, cleaning your supplies properly by following the directions from your medical supplier is key to preventing infection. The following tips are also important: 

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day 
  • Wash your hands before and after tracheostomy care 
  • Keep the skin around your trach clean and try to prevent irritation 
  • Change your gauze and tracheostomy ties when they are dirty or damp 

Extra Tracheostomy Safety Tips 

Now that you know the basics of tracheostomy care, it’s time to go over a few safety tips. 

  • Have an extra tube on hand 
  • Avoid dust, smoke, sand and other particles 
  • If you’re going out into cold weather, cover your tube with a scarf 
  • Keep your trach ties tight and check them frequently 
  • Avoid getting water into the tube and stoma 

Taking care of your tracheostomy and its parts properly is extremely important for your overall health. To learn more about trach care and the services we offer, click here or contact us. We’re happy to help you!