What families have in the emergency tracheostomy kits: Identifying gaps to improve patient safety.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the contents of parent-created emergency tracheostomy kits and identify deficiencies.

METHODS

This was an observational study. Data on emergency tracheostomy kits were abstracted for 30 consecutive children who had a tracheostomy tube in situ during an outpatient clinic visit with the Division of Respiratory Medicine and/or the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children between February 1 and October 30, 2016. A checklist of 12 essential items based on expert consensus was used to evaluate each tracheostomy kit.

RESULTS

Emergency tracheostomy kits from all children were missing at least one item from the 12-item checklist. Nineteen (63%) kits had three or more critical items missing. All kits had the same size tracheotomy tube. Twenty-two (73%) kits did not have a half size smaller tracheostomy tube. Fifteen (50%) were missing a manual resuscitation bag and four (13.3%) were missing a suction machine. Children who had tracheostomy tube in situ for ≥4 years were more likely to have ≥3 missing items in their kit (43.4%) compared to those who had tracheostomy tube for <4 years (20%), (χ2 (1) = 9.85, P = 0.0017).

CONCLUSION

Maintenance of a fully stocked emergency tracheostomy kit can save a child's life. It is incumbent upon healthcare providers to ensure ongoing reassessment of knowledge and skills required to care for a child with a tracheostomy tube and to regularly review the components of a child's emergency tracheostomy kit.

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