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Tracheostomy Program

The Tracheostomy Program at Children’s Mercy provides comprehensive tracheostomy-related care for children of all ages. A tracheostomy (often called a trach) is an opening in the front of the neck to assist with breathing. We have specialized clinics for infants and children, as well as training programs for parents, caregivers and community health professionals who care for children with a tracheostomy. 

The Tracheostomy Program, like many others at Children’s Mercy, works to coordinate your child’s care between several different specialized providers. Our goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page about your child’s care plan, and help you have fewer appointments for your child’s follow-up care.

This collaborative care begins at the hospital with our inpatient trach specialists and continues in our infant and pediatric outpatient clinics. You and your child are central to the care team, and we will work with you to provide the best possible care.


Who is on my tracheostomy care team?

 

You can expect to meet many of the following care providers while your child is part of the Tracheostomy Program: 

Pediatric specialists in pulmonology, ENT, neonatology and related areas will lead the team of doctors covering your child’s medical care. We are a teaching hospital, so you may also meet some of our fellows and residents alongside your other providers during your visits to Children’s Mercy.

Nurse practitioners are nurses with additional education and experience in working with trach patients and families. Their extensive training allows them to provide care that is similar in many respects to doctors.  

The Tracheostomy Program has several nurses and respiratory therapists who work specifically with trach kids and their families as clinical coordinators. 

Clinical coordinators will work as part of your child’s health care team to help support all your trach care needs. Your clinical coordinator will get to know your family well and be a valuable resource throughout your trach journey.  

Clinical coordinators will help you with: 

  • Planning for all your home care needs 
  • Helping you establish at-home nursing care 
  • Accessing durable medical equipment (such as tracheostomy materials and related supplies)
  • Learning about how to care for your child's trach before you are discharged from the hospital
  • Scheduling your outpatient follow-up appointments and therapies
  • Working with you and your insurance company to help you navigate that process 

Clinical coordinators also lead educational classes for nurses and community providers on how to care for children with tracheostomies in schools, child care centers, and other community activities. They also train EMTs and other first responders on how to assist a child with a tracheostomy during an emergency. 

Your child’s respiratory therapists will set up and monitor your child’s ventilator, when needed, as well as any other respiratory equipment that your child may need. They will give your child all respiratory medications and respiratory treatments they need during their inpatient stay and help with teaching you to care for your child’s respiratory needs outside the hospital.

Speech therapists may work with your child on language development as well as feeding skills, especially in our pediatric tracheostomy clinic. They are consulted on every trach that is placed.

Your trach team can help you coordinate additional services such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), dietitian and nutritional consultations, and assistance from our social work team.  

Families in our Infant Tracheostomy Clinic will typically see a dietitian as part of their clinic visit.

Clinical Services

The Infant Tracheostomy and Home Ventilator Clinic helps babies who need prolonged ventilator assistance to live at home while still receiving the respiratory support they need. We work together with your neonatology team to help your baby transition to living at home.

The Pediatric Tracheostomy and Home Ventilation Clinic cares for children of all ages who have a tracheostomy.

Children’s Mercy offers classes and training opportunities for health care providers, including EMS, home health nurses, school nurses and others who may care for children with tracheostomies. If you are interested in having Children's Mercy provide tracheostomy education to your health care agency or school staff, please click "Community Education" to access our request form.

Complications of prematurity: Kieesha's story

Born at just 26 weeks’ gestation, Kieesha Pentlin experienced many complex medical needs. From her stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to her ongoing care from the Tracheostomy Program team, Kieesha has always found the care she needed at Children's Mercy.

Meet Kieesha
Kieesha Pentlin laying down with her arms behind her head and smiling.