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

What happens after a tracheostomy?

About two out of ten patients with a tracheostomy die before they leave the hospital. More than half of older adults die within one year of tracheostomy. Patients with cancer or other chronic health problems like heart , lung, or kidney disease tend to die faster. These patients are also less likely to come off the breathing machine. Some patients partially improve but remain partially dependent on others. Many patients struggle to be independent after a tracheostomy.

Most patients with a tracheostomy must go to a long-term hospital. Some long-term hospitals are focused on getting people off the breathing machine. If a patient cannot come off the breathing, they often go to nursing homes.

Not all patients are eligible for these long-term hospitals. Not all long-term hospitals offer the same services. There are also many insurance considerations. You should talk to the health care team to understand your loved one’s options.

For more information about caring for a tracheostomy. please visit: Living with a Tracheostomy

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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).