Inpatient Nursing and Parental Comfort in Managing Pediatric Tracheostomy Care and Emergencies

Pritchett, C. V.; Foster Rietz, M.; Ray, A.; Brenner, M. J.; Brown, D.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Jan 1; 142(2):132-7

Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Tracheostomy is a critical and often life-saving intervention, but associated risks are not negligible. The vulnerability of the pediatric population underlies the importance of caregiver comfort and competence in tracheostomy care. OBJECTIVE: To assess inpatient nursing staff and parental perspectives in managing tracheostomy care. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis of survey data from (1) a volunteer sample of inpatient nurses in a tertiary care, freestanding pediatric hospital in the Midwest, assigned to clinical wards that provide care for children with tracheostomy tubes and (2) a consecutive sample of families whose child underwent tracheostomy tube placement at the same institution between March 1 and December 31, 2013. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Nurse and parental comfort in managing acute and established tracheostomy tubes. Nursing data were analyzed with attention to years' experience and primary unit of practice. RESULTS: Respondents included 129 of 820 nurses (16% response rate) and family members of 19 of 38 children (50% response rate). When queried about changing established tracheostomies, 59 of 128 nurses (46%) reported being "totally comfortable," including 46 of 82 intensive care unit (ICU) nurses (56%) vs 13 of 46 floor nurses (28%) (P = .002) and 48 of 80 nurses with at least 5 years' experience (60%) vs 12 of 49 less experienced nurses (24%) (P < .001). For managing accidental decannulation of a fresh tracheostomy, 61 nurses (47%) described being completely uncomfortable, including 27 of 83 ICU nurses (33%) vs 34 of 46 floor nurses (73%) (P = .006), and 33 of 80 nurses with at least 5 years' experience (41% ) vs 28 of 49 less experienced nurses (57%) (P = .03). Most families felt prepared for discharge (16 of 17 [94%]) and found the health care team accessible (16 of 17 [94%]), although only 5 of 18 families (28%) indicated that tracheostomy teaching was consistent. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Nurses' comfort with tracheostomy was higher among nurses with at least 5 years' experience and primary ICU location. Whereas parental comfort with tracheostomy care was high, lack of consistent instruction highlights the role for standardized education in tracheostomy care.

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