How to Clean a Trach Tube and Care It At Home

How to Clean a Trach Tube and Care It At Home

How to Clean a Trach Tube and Care It At Home

Whether you’re a social worker or a nurse, you need to have proper knowledge of how to clean a trach tube and other trach supplies easily at home.

When a person has respiratory issues and extreme breathing difficulties, they opt for an alternative route via a surgical process called a tracheostomy. No matter whether you work as a nurse or are a social worker, you must know how to deal with medical tools.

If you’re also surrounded by someone who breathes using a trach or you need to take care of such a person, then it’s vital to have an understanding of keeping these tools clean. Being medical supplies, the importance of cleaning and learning how to clean a trach tube becomes even more crucial than you may think.

A contaminated and uncleaned trach tube is home to unlimited bacteria and infections. This will only lead to the deterioration of health conditions. To prevent you from facing such situations, we’ve prepared an in-depth guide on how to clean a trach tube and other supplies. Explore more here:

What is a Tracheostomy?

Before we start learning how to clean a trach tube and take care of it, we must first get a deep insight into the process of tracheostomy. Until you’re aware of the purpose these tubes are used for, you can’t get into accurate cleaning methods and techniques.

So, what is a tracheostomy, and what supplies are included in the tracheostomy kit? To get detailed information about these basic but crucial things, you must take your journey a little deeper in the following section.

Tracheostomy, in the easiest terms, is a complicated surgical procedure through which people get an alternative pathway to breathe properly. This is often referred to as the trach, as the main component in the entire kit or princess remains the trach itself. 

The surgeon creates an incision or opening in the upper throat that connects to the person’s windpipe, allowing an alternative to the obstructions that occur in the natural airways. This allows the airways to open so that you can breathe normally, get oxygen, and also endure humidity.

It solely depends on your surgeon and the underlying criticality of the condition whether your tracheostomy will remain permanent or can be removed after the issue is cured. In the most severe cases, people who are ventilated also get their machine attached to the trach.

This is primarily an issue for older people or asthma sufferers. However, the material composition used in the tray is mainly plastic. Besides this, it comes in two distinctive types with different sizes. 

The trach is incomplete without an inner cannula, making it another important part of the kit. The inner cannula is connected with these trach tubes that ultimately create suction. This suction is further important to remove the mucous buildup inside the lungs and trachea.

What are the main supplies included in trach care kits?

While we’re talking about the trach care kits, we can’t overlook the supplies without which neither process is completed nor can you take care of the trach. Though the surgeons used specific and high-quality tools, you can have a rapid look at those supplies. 

Trach Tubes

When starting with the main component, trach tubes, which are nothing but a piece of high-end medical equipment, during the tracheostomy process, the surgeon inserts this tube via the hole around your windpipe.

Suction Machine 

The creation of mucus often remains an integral part of the respiration process. The mucus secretes and expells in a general breathing process. However, this process gets complicated when you’ve undergone tracheostomy surgery. 

This is when you need a suction machine that removes excessive mucus from the trach tubes so that its purpose gets fulfilled without hindrance. 

Inner Cannula

The inner cannula stands among the most important components of the tracheostomy toolkit. That being said, the inner cannula, when inserted inside the trach tubes, allows the air passage to function properly and also helps you breathe just like the normal airways do.

Paddings and Ties

When a person is discharged from the hospital after the tracheostomy surgery, they get padding along with ties so that the trach tubes remain in place. Paddings are often composed of plastic, and the same goes for the ties as well. The ties are placed around the side of the neck.

Necessity of Having a Clean Tracheostomy Kit

Necessity of Having a Clean Tracheostomy Kit

Appropriate cleaning and support of the trach are fundamental because of multiple factors. Normal cleaning simply eliminates the development of bodily fluid and emissions, which can hinder both the internal and external tubes while blocking the breathing airways. 

Furthermore, it lessens the chances of contamination, including the risk of tracheitis or pneumonia, which can happen when microorganisms develop inside the trach tube. Cleaning the trach tubes guarantees ideal execution and draws out their life expectancy, diminishing the requirement for unnecessary replacements.

When we talk about taking care of a trach kit, a proper understanding of how to clean a trach kit has the utmost importance. Never try to neglect a regular cleaning process to avoid potential secretions and debris buildup around the stoma or trach tube. 

How to Clean a Trach Kit: Simply Explained

Let’s take our journey forward to learn more about how to clean a trach tube, inner cannula, and other important parts of the tracheostomy kit. Keep reading for more details.

Foregather the Cleaning Tools 

No matter what component you’re cleaning, there are some common specialized tools required. Keep in mind that these tools must be sanitized and sterilized well so that there are no allergic reactions or infections caused to the patient. You might need:

  • Tap Water
  • A non-fragrant, mild dishwashing soap
  • Plastic Storage Bags
  • Bowls or Trays with deeper surface
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Soft Brushes
  • Soft, small sponges

How to clean a tracheostomy tube 

Now that you’ve got all the cleaning supplies, start your process with the stoma site followed by the tracheostomy tube. The stoma site is very much in contact with the trach tubes so both of these can be cleaned simultaneously.

Utilizing a spotless, sterile arrangement suggested by your medical services supplier, tenderly clean around the stoma site. This helps eliminate any garbage or dried discharges that might have been developed inside.

It’s vital to be delicate and try not to apply excessive force, as this can cause harm to the patient. When you’re done with the stoma, you can continue to clean the trach tube itself.

This should be possible by detaching the trach from the ventilator or respiratory piece of equipment and eliminating any internal cannulas, if present.  When they are spotless, they can be entirely washed off and allowed to air-dry.

Then, the external tracheostomy tube ought to be cleaned using a delicate brush or sponge. This helps eliminate any development or buildup that might have gathered on the internal surface of the trach tube.

Steps to clean a tracheostomy inner cannula

Now, you must invest your time in learning how to clean a trach tube inner cannula. When accomplishing the cleaning process, try to clean all of the trach supplies at once. This eases the task and makes the entire tracheostomy free from contamination and potential infections.

The steps are:

  1. Foremost, you need to unlock the inner cannula. This can be done by rotating it. Once you get the notch, stop rotating and pull the notch out of the tube.
  2. Be careful when doing this, as it can harm the tubes as well as the inner cannula.
  3. Use the pipe cleaner to remove the garbage buildup inside it. 
  4. Consider using a small toothbrush to work on the hard stains. 
  5. When you’re satisfied with your cleaning, turn towards the tap water supply and rinse it off under cold water.
  6. Reinspect the cannula and make certain that it’s debris- and moisture-free. 
  7. Once the process is completed, place the cannula in its place and lock the notch. 

Steps to Clean the Skin and Neck Plate

You’ll need to be specifically careful with the surrounding skin and neck plate. Both of these are surrounded by the stoma, and any mishandling can directly impact the insertion opening. These steps will help you take care of those parts.

  1. Foremost, opt for the removal of gauze placed behind the neck plate.
  2. When done, take a thorough inspection, allowing yourself to identify any debris or residual buildups that may be present on the surface.
  3. The neck plate should be cleaned using a saline solution. Dip a sponge in the prepared solution and gently apply it all around. 
  4. When cleaning the surface thoroughly, use a clean, soft, and dry sponge to remove any unacceptable particles from the neck plate surface.
  5. If you’ve used any excessive liquid, allow a proper time to let the surface dry.
  6. To clean the skin around the stoma, you just need a dampened cloth and wipe it off all around.
  7. Ensure that it doesn’t come into contact with the trach tubes; otherwise, the patient could have difficulty.

Also Read: How to Clean a Catalytic Converter with Seafoam

Some Worth Considering Points

We understand that cleanliness matters the most for any medical equipment, but abiding by some crucial points worth considering also has a key role to play. Here, we’ve outlined some such points. Have a look:

  • You never need to worry about the trach tube removal or replacement requirements. The surgeon will let you know whenever it is required.
  • The stoma and its surrounding skin should be checked at least once or twice in twenty-four hours. Both of these parts are critical and prone to infections.
  • During the cleaning process, coughing is a normal phenomenon. So, if a person coughs, cover the tubes and wait till they are relaxed.
  • Additional trach tubes become essential to have. If there is any fault in the inserted tube, another one can do the work for you.
  • If there are any issues or emergencies that you can’t handle by yourself, then immediately contact the healthcare provider.

Also Check: How to Clean a Springfield Hellcat: A Comprehensive Tutorial

Cautions While Dealing With Trach Kits

There could be some uncertain complications that might lead to severe health-related to the patient. That being said, besides knowing how to clean a trach tube, you’ll need to follow some specific cautions that can prevent damage to tracheostomy and keep them intact.

Decannulation Process:

Decannulation is the procedure through which your surgeon will remove the trach tubes installed. This is a complicated procedure and should be done by a certified surgeon or practitioner only.

However, they will let you know all the cautions and considerations yet you must prepare yourself for undergoing decannulation. Always abide by the instructions and suggestions given by them so that the potential risks can be avoided.

While Taking Bath:

Taking a bath while incorporating the tubes can be troublesome but you need to be very careful. You’re not suggested to submerge the entire tube in water or a swimming pool. Allow yourself to not go to such places wherever you find issues with the tracheostomy.

Swimming must be avoided until your trach is not removed or if it is permanent. Follow the instructions given by the surgeon and adjust it accordingly. Showering also needs to be carried out very carefully due to the precautionary measures related to trach tubes.

Accidental Fallout of the Trach Tubes:

Accidental or misintended fallouts of the trach tubes are likely possible. Despite handling it with extreme care, the trach tubes fall out, so don’t get panicked. You shouldn’t get hyper and start worrying about it.

Instead, calmly reinsert the tubes on your own, if possible. In case, you’re unable to do that, then seek help from the medical professional. The stoma or insertion hole gets blocked within no time if the tubes are fallen out. Right away seek professional help otherwise, this could be a medical emergency.

Summing It Up: How to Clean a Trach Tube

An uncleaned and contaminated trach kit can lead to complications while causing a blockage in the trach pipe. This blockage can hinder the purpose why it has been inserted. This is when a patient or caretaker realizes the importance of learning how to clean a trach tube and other kit supplies.

While the cleaning process needs careful handling, you must also be specific with the cleaning tools and supplies. Follow all the precautionary and safety measures while cleaning and handling the trach tubes. With optimal mindfulness, the task can be accomplished.

Tonya W. Wetzel

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