My mom has pneumonia. They're putting in a trach. Will this help them heal faster? - AgingCare.com

My mom has pneumonia. They're putting in a trach. Will this help them heal faster?

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Her lungs are still not where they want them to be.

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They are asking for a trach because she is ventilator dependent. If she keeps failing CPAP or spontaneous breathing trials on the ventilator because she is still weak, then removing the tube and requiring reintubation increases her risk of death. A tracheostomy is for safety. Her airway is protected and she can have trials off of the ventilator. If she gets tired then the respiratory therapist can just pop her back on the ventilator. Each time she is off, she can finally start training to eat again. Plus during her trials off, she can wear a special trach adaptor to talk again. There is a small risk from any surgical procedure but the benefits of rehab from speach therapy brings back a quality of life earlier and promotes a quicker ventilator liberation. It is not feasible to do PT to get her to walk with keeping an endotracheal tube in for safety reasons.

If she continues to remain vent dependent a trach patient can be transferred to a special rehab hospital to receive intensive PT while on the vent. The vent may be liberated while in rehab. That will include decannulation of the trach before discharge when it is dreamed safe. Once in a while, some patients can never come off a ventilator and remain institutionalized but that is rare. Meanwhile, keeping an endotracheal tube in does not help her progress. You are being asked about a Trach since it is a surgical procedure that needs consent.

Barb's comment about bipap needs some weighing in. Are her CPAP trials lasting half of the day? Wearing the mask means no eating while on it, and absolutely no restraints so if you think she would be pulling off the mask frequently then there would be no benefit. Also prolonged need for a mask attached to the face will cause skin breakdown, especially if her skin is fragile
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Trachs  can be permanent or temporary. If she isn’t breathing deep enough she isn’t getting enough oxygen. I am thinking she is too fatigued or ill to properly deep breath on her own & that’s why they are inserting it.
And yes, talk to her doctors. Will she be on a ventilator now with the trach? If so the the poor girl is probably exhausted, not getting enough oxygen to her organs and needs the respiratory support.
Trachs can be managed at home as well down the road if she is discharged with it.
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Ask if they can use a BiPap machine instead of a trach. Does your mom have a DNR and or a DNI?
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MelEssery, How old is your mother?
Does she have a life limiting disease as well as the pneumonia?
Do you know what caused the pneumonia.
Putting in a trach is a very serious step. Is that what your mother wants and understands
As CM said ask some questions and don't agree till you fully understand Mom's plan of care and how this will help her.
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You really must put this kind of question to your mother's doctors. Ask them: "please could you explain how this works?"

Is your mother in ICU/ITU? It can be a bewildering and frightening environment; and the staff there are, obviously, very focused on their work. In that case, ask either at the nurses' station or at the hospital's main enquiries desk who would be the best person to help you understand what is happening.
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