TRACH-Support: A Conversation Tool for Tracheostomy and Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation

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Tracheostomy and prolonged mechanical ventilation decisions can be very hard for family and friends. It is important to remember that tracheostomy decisions are not just about the surgery itself about also about the possibility of needing life support for a long time. The outcomes described in this conversation tool are only averages. Some of the patients that return home may recover and be able to do the things they used to do. However, others that return home may require a lot of help for even simple tasks or may even be on hospice. This tool cannot predict functional recovery, but it is an important topic to talk about with the medical team.


Your job as the surrogate is to make the best decision you think the patient would have made. You should ask the medical team all your questions. You can ask about their thoughts about the chances for recovery, what recovery might look like, rehabilitation hospitals, and anything else that you think is important.

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The Patient decision aids on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.The material provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not provided as medical advice. Nothing contained in these pages is intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Any individual should consult with his or her own physician before starting any new treatment or with any question you may have regarding a medical condition. No personal health information will be collected from users. Contact information is only collected if the user requests additional information regarding one of the tools. Last Updated 10/31/2019

Funding by the National Institutes on Aging (1K23AG040696) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PI000116-01).