About your tracheostomy
An opening or hole is created in the neck into the windpipe (also known as the trachea) and a tube is inserted. This can be done by an intensive care doctor or a surgeon. The tracheostomy tube sits in the front of your neck and passes into the trachea. There are different types of tracheostomy tubes.
You may need it for one or more of these reasons:
• To give you an airway for breathing
• To allow connection to a ventilator (breathing machine)
• To remove (suction) saliva or mucous from your lungs
• To stop saliva or food and drink from going into your lungs
• You breathe in and out of the tracheostomy tube in your neck
• A ventilator can be attached to the tube if needed
• The tube can be suctioned so that saliva or mucous can be removed from your lungs
• The tracheostomy cuff can be up (inflated) or down (deflated)
• When the cuff is up, it stops large amounts of saliva from going into your lungs
• You will not be able to talk easily if the cuff is up
• Most people need the tracheostomy tube for a few weeks
• Some people need the tracheostomy tube long term
“I might not be able to do as much or as long or as fast, but I can still do [things]. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. There are adjustments, but you just got to go with the flow.”
Patient and Family Forums
Since the inaugural Tracheostomy Patient and Family Forum in 2017, a vibrant, growing tracheostomy community has met to share stories, challenges, encouragement and ways to thrive while living with a tracheostomy. Check this website for updates on our next forum.
Some previous forums include:
Patient and Family Forum 2022
28th February 2022
Continuing Conversations that Count: The Restorative Power of Nature
Andrew Laidlaw: Renowned Landscape Architect, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, President of Global Gardens of Peace. Don’t miss Andrew’s powerful message on the positive impact that nature and gardens can have on health and wellbeing. Andrew will also be speaking on the exciting ‘Food Forest Project,’ of which the late Gerard Stevenson, tracheostomy patient, author and businessman, initiated and was a key driving force.
Silvia & John Cama and Peter & Sue Stickney These inspiring patients and family members will share stories on the restorative power of nature.
Patient and Family Forum 2020: A Symphony of Stories, Continuing Conversations that Count
In response to COVID-19, this forum was the first ZOOM forum. It was highly successful and evaluation of the event showed 96% of those who completed the evaluation agreed that the Tracheostomy Forums and being part of a tracheostomy community were important aspects of tracheostomy care.
Guest speaker Benjamin Northey (Chief conductor in residence, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra & Chief Conductor, The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, NZ) brought an inspiring message including insights from his involvement in the Christchurch Disaster Recovery. Other guests include Daisy, Sally & Jenny and Larry & Michelle who gave insights into their lives and coping through the unprecedented year that was 2020.
Patient and Family Forum 2018
The 2018 Tracheostomy Patient and Family Winter Forum was a wonderful occasion where we received an update on our global tracheostomy community and facilitated discussions on developing resilience.
We also had winter-warming fun with West African drumming. Each patient with a tracheostomy and their families and carers received a beautiful hand-made card designed and made by one of our tracheostomy in-patients.
Personal stories were shared and a sense of belonging and connection was created.
Tracheostomy Patient and Family Festive Forum 2017
These events were the inaugural meetings and the beginning of a powerful tracheostomy community.
Tracheostomy Patient and Forum Mailing List
If you would like your name to be added to our mailing list so you receive notices about the Tracheostomy Patient and Family Forums, email [email protected] and use the subject line Tracheostomy Patient and Forum Mailing List