Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So, today’s tip is about, again, the frustration that one of our readers has shared with us and the reader says, “The ICU is reluctant to remove my husband’s tracheostomy after a stroke. Why would that be?” Now, that’s a great question. And, again, it comes back to that the biggest challenge for families in intensive care is simply that they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what to look for. They don’t know what questions to ask. They don’t know their rights and they don’t know how to manage doctors and nurses in intensive care.
It also goes to show what I’ve been saying for the longest that intensive care teams only tell families in intensive care half of the story. If they had explained things to you properly, they would probably explain to you why they are reluctant to remove your husband’s tracheostomy after a stroke. Most likely he will not be or he’s not able to swallow. That’s most likely one of the reasons why they are reluctant to remove the tracheostomy, which can happen after a stroke.
Now, why would they then leave the tracheostomy in? So, a tracheostomy gives the option to block the windpipe and the entry from the mouth basically and to the lungs. And therefore, saliva doesn’t go into the lungs. Now, if you remove the tracheostomy for someone that can’t swallow saliva, food, water or whatever, it could go into the lungs, and it would cause an aspiration pneumonia. So, by having a tracheostomy, the airway is sealed blocked off. Therefore, saliva, food or water doesn’t go into the lungs, and it won’t cause an aspiration pneumonia. That’s one reason.
The other reason why your husband may still need the tracheostomy is he may need frequent airway clearance. Maybe he can’t clear his airway, i.e., he doesn’t have a strong enough cough reflex or a strong enough gag reflex. Therefore, he will need frequent airway clearance or suctioning.
So, those could be the two major reasons why your husband needs the tracheostomy after the stroke. But I am surprised that they haven’t explained that to you. I am surprised that they haven’t done a swallow assessment, at least you haven’t mentioned anything. A swallowing assessment would be imperative in a situation like that. You should also ask them whether your husband is coughing or not.
Now, it sounds to me like your husband is still stuck in ICU at the moment, and there is a solution for that as well if he can’t go home because he has a tracheostomy. Have a look at intensivecareathome.com. With Intensive Care at Home, we are providing services to long term ventilated adults and children with tracheotomies at home And even though your husband isn’t ventilated by the sounds of things, he will still need 24-hour specialist nursing care at home to keep him safe with a tracheostomy.
So, go to intensivecareathome.com and have a look at the solutions there. We can help you with 24-hour specialist nursing care at home to get your husband out of intensive care if he does require the tracheostomy long-term.
So, with Intensive Care at Home, we are currently operating all around Australia and our clients are often NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) funded, TAC (Transport Accident Commission) in Victoria, DVA (Department of Veteran Affairs), iCare in New South Wales, or NIISQ (National Injury Insurance Scheme, Queensland) funded. If you are in the U.S., please contact us as well, we can help you in the U.S. as well. So, please contact us depending on where you are. We’re also providing specialist support coordination with Intensive Care at Home for our NDIS clients.
That is my quick tip for today.
Now, if you have a loved one in intensive care, go to intensivecarehotline.com and call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website or simply send us an email to [email protected].
Also, have a look at our membership for families in intensive care at intensivecaresupport.org. There, you have access to me and my team, 24 hours a day, in a membership area and via email and we answer all questions, intensive care and Intensive Care at Home related.
Also, if you need a medical record review for your loved one in intensive care, we provide medical record reviews in real time and also can give you a second opinion. We also provide medical record reviews after intensive care if you have unanswered questions, if you are suspecting medical negligence, or if you’re simply needing closure. If you’re needing an NDIS nursing assessment, please contact us as well. We can help you with that as well.
Now, subscribe to my YouTube channel for regular updates for families in intensive care, click the like button, click the notification bell, comment below what you want to see next or what questions and insights you have, and share the video with your friends and families.
Thank you so much for watching.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and intensivecareathome.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.