Red flags are the often-detectable warning signs that occur before an emergency.
Knowing what to look out for will allow early trouble shooting and stop minor problems escalating.
Some common red flags in patients with a tracheostomy include:
- Increased frequency to change inner tube due to increased build-up of secretions – likely caused by insufficient humidification. Humidification should be increased. Ensure that the patient is not dehydrated.
- Increased need to re-inflate the cuff – likely caused by displaced tube or a damaged cuff. The tracheostomy tube should be replaced by a trained health professional and the position of the tube checked.
- Ability to vocalise when the cuff is inflated – likely caused by a faulty cuff or blocked tube. The tracheostomy tube should be checked for blockages and the cuff checked for leaks.
- Deterioration of patient observations could be due to a problem with the tracheostomy – assess Airway.