2022 HME Business Handbook: Respiratory

From Hospital To Home: Getting Respiratory Right

RespiratoryWhen respiratory patients have been in the hospital for an extended period, discharge day is a highly anticipated event. Studies show that patients tend to heal better at home with the comfort of their families and loved ones close by.

In reality, the transition from hospital to homecare can be challenging. Families find themselves absorbing an overwhelming amount of new information, filling prescriptions, and arranging for home healthcare providers. In addition, a care company is usually contracted to supply the necessary medical supplies for continued respiratory treatment and therapy.

As supplies arrive at the house, patients and families are sometimes surprised to discover they differ from those that were used for treatment in the hospital. For many respiratory patients, even small differences in the way a product is constructed can profoundly affect their path of recovery and quality of life.

Tracheostomy patients in particular must pay special attention and care to ensure that the trach area remains clean and free of bacteria – and that the skin around the neck is protected. Choosing the correct trach ties, a seemingly small accessory, can make a very significant difference in this regard.

TRACH TIES: A VITAL SUPPORTING ROLE

When patients return home, families and caregivers must ensure that respiratory therapy continues in a way that does not cause secondary conditions that could worsen to the point where additional staff, medication, and even hospital re-admission are required. For trach patients, the quality and proper fit of trach ties make all the difference.

A trach tie is an essential tool that supports the trach tube and holds it in place. An effective trach tie supports and stabilizes the trach tube during coughing and sudden movements. Trach ties come in a range of styles and are constructed from various types of materials.

In the hospital, patients are likely to find high-quality trach ties that are geared toward proper fit and maximum absorbency. These features remain vitally important when patients return home.

DETAILS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Trach ties must suit the necks of many different types of patients. Necks come in many sizes — and one size or type does not fit all. In the case of patients with large necks, particular care must be taken that the trach tie fits correctly. Improper fit may cause the tie to rub against or cut into the skin, causing a rash or sore that can break down the skin and lead to more serious issues. Trach ties that are easily adjustable help alleviate irritation while providing secure support of the trach tube.

Many manufacturers use an ultra-sonic welding process to bind the trach tie to the hook and loop closure that holds it together. While this process is less labor-intensive to produce, it results in a harder edge that can irritate delicate skin surrounding the trach tube. Trach ties using stitching tend to provide a softer, more comfortable edge that provides more comfort and can be more easily tolerated.

ABSORBENCY IS KEY

Many patients who transition from hospital to home are well-oriented and aware of their surroundings. But for those who are less alert or who have certain underlying conditions, saliva may escape and move toward the neck and trach-tie area. If the trach tie is not sufficiently absorbent, the excess moisture rubbing against the trach tie can exacerbate irritations on the skin.

These kinds of irritants can evolve into wound care issues that could complicate respiratory treatment and require additional medical staff and more pain for the patient. A highly absorbent trach tie helps solve this problem by keeping moisture away from the skin where it could dry and become abrasive.

UNDERSTANDING OPTIONS

Homecare companies can support tracheostomy patients by learning more about the design options for trach ties and other respiratory supplies— and choosing those that minimize the risk of exacerbating the conditions of vulnerable patients. To this end, care companies can work together with distributors to explore the full range of options and features available to ensure that patients have access to respiratory products that suit their real-life needs.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Trach ties are an essential part of tracheostomy care in the home.
  • Home respiratory patients should be aware that the supplies they receive might differ from those used in the hospital.
  • Tracheostomy patients are vulnerable to skin irritations that can lead to serious wound care issues.
  • Patients should be aware of product features and options, such as absorbency, adjustability, and quality of materials when choosing a trach tie.
  • Distributors can work with care companies to make them aware of the options available that they can provide to homecare patients.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about Dynarex Resp-O2 respiratory therapy supplies, visit dynarex.com. To learn more about Dynarex’s full line of disposable and durable medical supplies, visit dynarex.com.

This article originally appeared in the May/Jun 2022 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Barry Zuckerman is the Respiratory Advisor for the Dynarex Resp-O2 product line, which features a comprehensive range of respiratory solutions.

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