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For all procedures relating to care of the patient with tracheostomy tube Standard Precautions must be applied.  Standard Precautions are the precautions necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of micro-organisms from both recognised and unrecognised sources of infection.  All health care workers in all situations involving the care of patients or contact with the environment must use standard precautions. Prior to any procedure the health care worker must consider any potential exposures from blood and body fluids and use personal protective equipment to prevent any direct contact. For further details refer to Infection Control Committee Policy Standard Precautions, ICP Manual 18, (2004).

Infection Control – Standard Precautions

The underlying principles of care described in this booklet can be applied to all patients with a tracheostomy tube.  This booklet does not discuss variations in practice that have been agreed at local levels by competent healthcare practitioners.

The term “competent healthcare practitioner” refers to an experienced practitioner able to apply critical thinking and be capable of doing or selecting the most appropriate choice of action including seeking expert advice when necessary. 

This guide has been adapted from the Guidelines for the Care of Patients with Tracheostomy Tubes, by St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust (2000). We would like to express our thanks to them. 

The evidence base for these recommendations is taken from the current literature available on this subject.   Recommendations made without a strong evidence base were formed by expert opinion and are thought to reflect good practice and incorporate the Best Practice Statement on Caring for the Patient with a Tracheostomy 2007.