What is it about?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, there has been growing recognition of risks to frontline healthcare workers. When caring for patients with tracheostomy, there is exposure to mucosal surfaces, secretions, and aerosols that may harbor the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This tutorial provides guidance for safely performing patient evaluation and procedures. Base on comprehensive review of literature, a global interdisciplinary team analyzed findings and developed recommendations. Infection to healthcare workers in the current COVID-19 pandemic and previous outbreaks substantiate the need for safe practices. Many procedures routinely performed by speech-language pathologists have a significant risk of infection due to aerosol generation. COVID-19 testing can inform level of protective equipment, and meticulous hygiene can stem spread of nosocomial infection. Modifications to standard clinical practice in tracheostomy are often required. Personal protective equipment, including either PAPR or N95 mask, gloves, goggles, and gown, are needed when performing aerosol-generating procedures in patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Healthcare workers are often called on to assist in the care of patients with tracheostomy and known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Appropriate care of these patients is predicated on maintaining the health and safety of the healthcare team. Careful adherence to best practices can significantly reduce risk of infectious transmission.

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Why is it important?

Healthcare workers are often called on to assist in the care of patients with tracheostomy and known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Appropriate care of these patients is predicated on maintaining the health and safety of the healthcare team. Careful adherence to best practices can significantly reduce risk of infectious transmission.

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This page is a summary of: Speech-Language Pathology Guidance for Tracheostomy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An International Multidisciplinary Perspective, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2020, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2020_ajslp-20-00089.
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