What is a tracheostomy specialist?
A patient with a tracheostomy is cared for by numerous healthcare professionals from a variety of disciplines: a physician, nurse, respiratory therapist, speech pathologist, etc., and each of these practitioners approach the patient from their own frame of reference. For example, a surgeon may be skilled at placing a tracheostomy, but is often unfamiliar with all the choices of tubes available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
A tracheostomy specialist is a practitioner who has extensive experience with a wide variety of patients who have a tracheostomy, and has a more focused perspective to care. The specialist can identify why a tracheostomy may be needed and when it is time for it to be removed. The tracheostomy specialist can restore speech for the patient with a tracheostomy. The tracheostomy specialist leads the team of healthcare professionals and provides the most appropriate recommendations for each patient based on needs and goals of care.
The tracheostomy specialist teaches patients and family members how to clean and care for the tracheostomy and how to manage potential emergencies at home. The tracheostomy specialist also teaches physicians, nurses, and therapists how to better care for their patients, and provides recommendations about preventing potential problems and managing emergencies.
The ideal tracheostomy specialist has advanced skills to diagnose problems and manage all aspects of care for the patient with a tracheostomy.