The Trach Safe Initiative: A Quality Improvement Initiative to Reduce Mortality among Pediatric Tracheostomy Patients.

TitleThe Trach Safe Initiative: A Quality Improvement Initiative to Reduce Mortality among Pediatric Tracheostomy Patients.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsOng T, C Liu C, Elder L, Hill L, Abts M, Dahl JP, Evans KN, Parikh SR, Soares JJ, Striegl AM, Whitlock KB, Johnson KE
JournalOtolaryngol Head Neck Surg
Date Published2020 Aug
KeywordsAftercare, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Infant, Male, Patient Safety, Quality Improvement, Tracheostomy

OBJECTIVE: To describe the Trach Safe Initiative and assess its impact on unanticipated tracheostomy-related mortality in outpatient tracheostomy-dependent children (TDC).

METHODS: An interdisciplinary team including parents and providers designed the initiative with quality improvement methods. Three practice changes were prioritized: (1) surveillance airway endoscopy prior to hospital discharge from tracheostomy placement, (2) education for community-based nurses on TDC-focused emergency airway management, and (3) routine assessment of airway events for TDC in clinic. The primary outcome was annual unanticipated mortality after hospital discharge from tracheostomy placement before and after the initiative.

RESULTS: In the 5 years before and after the initiative, 131 children and 155 children underwent tracheostomy placement, respectively. At the end of the study period, the institution sustained Trach Safe practices: (1) surveillance bronchoscopies increased from 104 to 429 bronchoscopies, (2) the course trained 209 community-based nurses, and (3) the survey was used in 488 home ventilator clinic visits to identify near-miss airway events. Prior to the initiative, 9 deaths were unanticipated. After Trach Safe implementation, 1 death was unanticipated. Control chart analysis demonstrates significant special-cause variation in reduced unanticipated mortality.

DISCUSSION: We describe a system shift in reduced unanticipated mortality for TDC through 3 major practice changes of the Trach Safe Initiative.

IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE: Death in a child with a tracheostomy tube at home may represent modifiable tracheostomy-related airway events. Using Trach Safe practices, we address multiple facets to improve safety of TDC out of the hospital.

Alternate JournalOtolaryngol Head Neck Surg
PubMed ID32204663
Faculty Reference: 
Che Carrie Liu, MD, MPH