Tracheostomy Safety is a web-based educational resource developed by the National Tracheostomy Safety Project, in partnership with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and HEE e-Learning for Healthcare. The programme contains three sessions which are intended to support the educational requirements of those caring for 'neck breathing' patients, either routinely or in an emergency. The resources are applicable for general and specialist nursing staff, medical staff and allied health professionals from all backgrounds. Although primarily aimed at staff working in hospitals, the resources are also applicable to those who care for patients in community settings. These sessions also provide a learning resource for trainers, which can be effectively integrated into local teaching and educational programmes.
Adult tracheostomy and laryngectomy emergencies are uncommon but lead to significant morbidity and mortality. The National Tracheostomy Safety Project aims to improve the management of tracheostomy and laryngectomy critical incidents, many of which are the result of recurring issues. Some relate to basic knowledge of anatomy or airway procedures, the types of tracheostomy tubes, the devices which can be attached to these and knowledge of the principles of nursing care for patients with a tracheostomy or laryngectomy. In addition, routine or emergency equipment is sometimes unavailable or not used correctly, and emergencies can be managed in a haphazard fashion.
To address these issues, the National Tracheostomy Safety Project has developed resources and emergency algorithms, taking into account existing guidelines, evidence and experiences. Key stakeholder groups include the Difficult Airway Society, Intensive Care Society, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, ENT UK, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, College of Emergency Medicine, Resuscitation Council UK, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care and the National Patient Safety Agency.