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Evaluating a tracheostomy vest

The Novel Tracheostomy Tube Support Vest​
The Novel Tracheostomy Tube Support Vest​.

A vest which carries ventilation tubes could support the mobilisation of tracheostomy patients in intensive care units, aiding recovery.

The vest, designed to improve physiotherapy practices for enabling tracheostomy patients get back on their feet and regain strength after treatment, is being assessed thanks to a partnership established through Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator.

A tracheostomy - placing a tube into an artificially created hole or stoma in the windpipe (trachea) - is one of the most frequently performed procedures in the intensive care unit (ICU) to address upper airway obstruction, improve oral hygiene and prolong ventilation.

Post-operative patient mobility has been problematic as tubing connects the tracheostomy tube to a mechanical ventilator.

A collaboration between clothing company Brodwaith Cyf, Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) is assessing whether a ‘TrachyVest’ – which holds the ventilator tubes in place – can improve practices for mobilising these patients in ICU.

The team undertaking this project reported that 'Initial feedback from ICU staff suggests that this vest appears to hold the ventilator tubes in place without the need for staff to manage them when patients are mobilising.'

'The partnership will assess how the TrachyVest performs with a variety of different patients and staff, and, across different size patients. For mechanically ventilated patients it is particularly important to promote mobilisation, as they have an increased risk of Intensive Care Unit Acquired Weakness. However, early mobilisation within the ICU needs issues to be overcome, such as sufficient trained staff to support safe patient mobilisation, and the secure management of ventilator tubes.'

Accelerate support is helping to establish an evidence base by enabling a Cardiff University researcher, Brodwaith Cyf, and CVUHB staff to undertake the preliminary evaluation in the intensive care units in Cardiff.

Patient feedback, observations, focus groups and questionnaires with the staff involved in patient mobilisation will help determine future vest design changes, and help to evaluate whether the vest is clinically appropriate.

Read the published case study

The use of a novel tracheostomy tube support vest

A case study to undertake a preliminary evaluation of the use of a tracheostomy support tube vest.