What is tracheostomy?Tracheostomy is a procedure to create an artificial opening made in the trachea (windpipe). Air goes through this opening instead of the nose or mouth. This opening allows direct air passage and offers the ability to clear secretions from the lower airway through suctioning.
What causes a tracheostomy?
A tracheostomy may be required due to a medical condition such as vocal cord paralysis, throat cancer, pneumonia, stroke, or when the airway is blocked. The need for a tracheostomy can be short or long term. Both speech and swallowing ability will be affected by the tracheostomy.
How can we help?
We will assess and create a personalized treatment plan that fits our patient’s goals. This may include:
- Recommending the type and size of tracheostomy to use
- Managing secretions and practicing breathing in order to reduce dependence on tracheostomy in order to remove it eventually
- Teaching communication methods through the use of the speaking valve (a speaking valve is necessary for patients on tracheostomy to speak) or an augmentative and alternative communication method (e.g. a communication book/ipad app)
- Improving swallowing function to be able to swallow saliva, food and drinks while on tracheostomy