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Clogged Breathing Tubes

A resident’s breathing tube must be kept open and unclogged in order to ensure sufficient oxygen to the brain. A tracheostomy tube is an artificial airway that is inserted directly into the trachea through a small incision in the neck. A patient may require a tracheostomy tube to relieve mechanical airway obstruction, to provide mechanical ventilation, to permit easy access for secretion removal, or to protect the airway from aspiration due to impaired cough and gag reflexes.

A clogged breathing tube can cause brain damage and death. The resident and the breathing tube must be properly monitored by the nursing home staff. In order to accept a tracheostomy resident, the nursing home must have personnel who are competent to perform tracheostomy care, endotracheal suctioning, and tracheostomy site care. A variety of factors affect the need and frequency of tracheostomy care, including hydration, humidity, infection, nutrition, the resident’s ability to cough, and the resident’s level of competence in performing self-care. Hydration and humidity levels of inspired air affect the viscosity of the resident’s tracheo-bronchial secretions. The presence or absence of infection also affects the amount of secretions.

The resident’s ability to cough and level of competence with self-care affect the amount of treatment performed by the nurse. Regular tracheostomy care and cleansing are basic elements that ensure a patent airway. The caregiver must use sterile technique to minimize the risk of infection.

If you believe a loved one has been harmed by a nursing home’s failure to provide proper breathing tube care, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.