Specialised service supports high risk patients

A man and two women who are part of the tracheostomy service team stand in front of a window. The man is holding a sealed packet of medical equipment.
Fiona Stanley Hospital’s tracheostomy service team – Clinical Nurse Specialist Cathy Haddock, Medical Lead and Intensivist Dr Cyrus Edibam and Senior Speech Pathologist Kate Katsoulis.
December 5, 2018

A dedicated tracheostomy service at Fiona Stanley Hospital is providing crucial support and education for these high-risk patients and the staff who care for them.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Cathy Haddock and Senior Speech Pathologist Kate Katsoulis lead the multi-professional service, which is the only one of its kind in WA.

“Patients may require a tracheostomy to secure their airway for a number of reasons including patients who might not be conscious enough to breathe, need ongoing mechanical ventilation and assist those who may have experienced a trauma to the upper head and neck region,” Cathy said.

“The numbers of patients requiring a tracheostomy is quite small, yet the risk of complication and catastrophic events such as tube occlusion or dislodgement, is exceptionally high.

“Our role is to assist in the prevention of complications and help manage the risks with consultation and education for patients, their family and the multidisciplinary team.” 

Kate said education for staff was at the core of the service due to small cohort of these patients.

“Ensuring staff feel confident to deliver the best care to these complex patients is crucial,” Kate said.

 “We recently conducted intensive education on a ward which hadn’t had a tracheostomy patient for 18 months.

“From only six wards at opening which could care for tracheostomy patients, a structured and ongoing education program has seen this increase to 16 wards.”

More than 700 staff from FSH and WA Health have attended their toolbox sessions and study days to develop their skills.

Recently the team shared the learnings of their service to a delegate for presentation at a hospital board in Kuwait.

The tracheostomy service has assisted in excess of 200 patients at FSH since opening.

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