Hi it’s Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME where we provide tailor made solutions for long-term ventilated Adults & Children with Tracheostomies by improving their Quality of life and where we also provide tailor made solutions to hospitals and Intensive Care Units to save money and resources, whilst providing Quality Care!
In the last blog I shared
You can check out last week’s blog here!
In this week’s blog I want to answer a question that we get quite frequently from our readers and people who visit our website INTENSIVECAREATHOME.COM and they simply want to know the options once their loved one in Intensive Care will need a tracheostomy.
Many families who have a loved one in Intensive Care come to us and they want to know
It’s another great question we get rather frequently from our readers at INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME and I do want to shed some light on this question today.
Most families who have a loved one in Intensive Care and ask this question should also ask a different question to begin with to set the frame.
Is there quality of life in Intensive Care?
The answer is no, therefore let’s look at some explanations and let’s look at the bigger picture.
One of the biggest frustrations for families in Intensive Care is simply that they don’t know if a tracheostomy is the right thing to do if their critically ill loved one is on a breathing tube and a ventilator and can’t be weaned off it.
From my experience Intensive Care Units can be very quick to either
- If you are in countries like the Australia, New Zealand, UK or Ireland a tracheostomy should ideally lead to weaning off the ventilator in Intensive Care as opposed to long-term acute care
- wanting to do a tracheostomy and then send their Patients off to Long-term acute care (LTAC) if you are living in the USA. This often serves an Intensive Care Unit because they can free up a precious, expensive, scarce and “in-demand” Intensive Care bed, without actually maximizing and optimizing chances to get your critically ill loved one off the ventilator and the breathing tube in the first place. Getting a critically ill Patient off the ventilator and the breathing tube should always be the goal.
This is really important for you and your family to understand before I explain to you if there is quality of life with a tracheostomy.
Generally speaking, quality of life after a tracheostomy is improved in Intensive Care, because the need for sedation and induced coma is often minimized and/or excluded.
You may also be curious about why I should be the one answering this question for you.
In case you are wondering, after nearly 20 years Intensive Care Nursing in three different countries, where I literally worked with thousands of critically ill Patients and their families and where I also worked as a Nurse Unit Manager in Intensive Care for over 5 years I can assure that I’ve seen enough Patients in Intensive Care getting a tracheostomy.
I have also worked in the community with dozens of long-term Intensive Care Patients (adults & children) on ventilators with tracheostomies as part of INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME.
I also offer a counselling, consulting and advocacy service for families in Intensive Care and I speak to families who have a loved one in Intensive Care every single day.
Once a tracheostomy has been done, it’s also much easier to wean a critically ill Patient off the ventilator and again, it improves quality of life as well. In some instances it can also improve quality of end of life too.
What a tracheostomy is also doing is it buys critically ill Patients time to come off a ventilator and recover.
Especially if there is talk about a “one way extubation”.
What does a “one way extubation” mean? (Extubation = removal of the breathing tube)
A “one way extubation” means that Intensive Care teams are planning to take a critically ill Patient off the ventilator and the breathing tube and they won’t be putting it back in.
This can be a “sink and swim” approach and it often doesn’t do Patients and their families justice.
Those “one way extubations” are often set up to let people fail and by letting Patients die without having tried a tracheostomy.
Again, a tracheostomy will buy a critically ill Patient time and it often buys them as much time as they need to recover in their own time.
Therefore, a tracheostomy on the one hand should not be rushed, but on the other hand it should always be offered.
If a critically ill Patient can be weaned off the ventilator but can’t have the tracheostomy removed they should definitely be in a position to leave Intensive Care.
But even if they can’t be weaned off the ventilator they can leave Intensive Care and go home with a service like INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME.
A ventilator and a tracheostomy is still enabling many Patients to go home instead of staying in Intensive Care, Long-term acute care and/or nursing home.
The way this is possible is by taking Patients home with a service INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME.
INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME is a genuine alternative to a long-term stay in Intensive Care and it literally improves the quality of life for any ventilated/tracheostomised Patient overnight.
Imagine your loved one is stuck in Intensive Care and your family spends day and night in Intensive Care, INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME offers like a “dream come true” experience.
Therefore the answer is, “yes” there is quality of life for anybody on a ventilator and/or tracheostomy.
It’s also important to know that from a health consumer perspective, Hospitals are now obliged to partner with health care consumers as part of the National Health Care standards in Australia.(Standard 2)
For example, involving consumers in service planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation is more likely to result in services that are more accessible and appropriate for health care consumers.
Imagine from a Hospital/ICU perspective, if you have a tracheostomised and long-term ventilated adult or child blocking an ICU bed for many weeks and many months, INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME has a viable and safe option for you as well.
What do you think? Do you think there is quality of life after a tracheostomy? Leave your comments on the blog.
If you want to find out how we can help you to get your loved one out of Intensive Care or Long-term acute care(also nursing home) or if you find that you have insufficient support for your loved one at home on a ventilator or if you have any questions please send me an email to [email protected] or call on one of the numbers below.
Australia/New Zealand +61 41 094 2230
USA/Canada +1 415-915-0090
UK/Ireland +44 118 324 3018
Also, check out our careers section here
We are an NDIS, TAC(Victoria) and DVA(Department of Veteran affairs) approved community service provider in Australia.
We are also part of the Royal Melbourne health accelerator program
Thank you for tuning into this week’s blog.
This is Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVE CARE AT HOME and I see you again next week in another update!