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A tracheostomy is a surgically created opening in the trachea. A
tracheostomy tube is placed in the incision to secure an airway and to
prevent it from closing. Tracheostomy care is generally done every eight
hours and involves cleaning around the incision, as well as replacing
the inner cannula of the tracheostomy tube. After the site heals, the
entire tracheostomy tube is replaced once or twice per week, depending
on the physician's order.
The goals of tracheostomy care are to maintain the patency of the
airway, prevent breakdown of the skin surrounding the site, and prevent infection. Sterile technique should be used during the procedure.