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Identifying and improving knowledge deficits of emergency airway management of tracheotomy and laryngectomy patients: a pilot patient safety initiative.

  • Author(s): El-Sayed, Ivan H
  • Ryan, Susan
  • Schell, Hildy
  • Rappazini, Rosanne
  • Wang, Steven J
  • et al.
Abstract

Objectives. To evaluate the knowledge base of hospital staff regarding emergent airway management of tracheotomy and laryngectomy patients, and the impact of the introduction of a bedside airway form. Methods. Cross-sectional surveys of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists at a tertiary care hospital prior to and 24 months after introduction of a bedside Emergency Airway Access (EAA) form. Results. Pre- and postintervention surveys revealed several knowledge deficits. Preintervention, 37% of medical internists and 19% overall did not know that laryngectomy patients cannot be orally ventilated, and 67% of internists could not identify the purpose of stay sutures in recently created tracheotomies. Postintervention, these numbers improved for all groups. Furthermore, 80% of respiratory therapists reported encountering the EAA form in an emergent situation and found it useful. Conclusion. A knowledge deficit is identified in caregivers expected to provide emergency management of patients with airway anatomy altered by subspecialty surgeons. Safety initiatives such as the EAA form may improve knowledge among providers.

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