The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

IMPROVING TRACHEOSTOMY PATIENT SAFETY VIA A RESPIRATORY THERAPY DEPARTMENT SAFETY COMMITTEE

Victoria M. Martin, Dennis Otu, Susan Witschger, Gayle Witye, Gail Sexton, Debra Smith, Victoria Roelker; Respiratory Therapy, The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, OH

BACKGROUND: After the development of a safety committee in the respiratory therapy department, it was found that storage of back up tracheostomy supplies at each tracheostomy patient’s bedside was inconsistent. Supplies were unavailable, incomplete, or inaccessible within the patient’s room. This was viewed as a potential patient safety issue due to the risk of accidental decannulation. The safety committee reviewed the current method and practice of the hospital. A literature review was performed on current recommended practice. It was found that a shared responsibility of obtaining the supplies between respiratory therapy and nursing caused confusion and inconsistent practice. METHOD: Based on our literature review, the safety committee developed a checklist of the necessary back up tracheostomy supplies to be made easily accessible at the bedside in the event of accidental decannulation. The respiratory therapy staff took over the responsibility of obtaining and placing the back up tracheostomy supplies in each tracheostomy patient’s room. The respiratory therapy staff was educated on the necessary supplies and the new method. A tool was developed to audit the placement of back up tracheostomy supplies. This auditing tool has been completed and reviewed at least bi-monthly in a random fashion to ensure compliance with the new method. RESULTS: Prior to the initiation of this new method, it was perceived that compliance with standard practice was generally poor at less than 30%. After implementation of the checklist, education, and staff awareness of the auditing process, our compliance improved to 86% in four months. CONCLUSION: Creating a respiratory therapy department safety committee, charged with improving overall safety and standard practice, utilizing research, education, and performance improvement, is vital for the success of the entire hospital and most importantly for the safety of the patient. Sponsored Research – None