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Tracheostomy home care: in a resource-limited setting
  1. A Vanker1,
  2. S Kling1,
  3. J R Booysen2,
  4. D Rhode1,
  5. P Goussard1,
  6. L Heyns1,
  7. R P Gie1
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Children's Hospital, Tygerberg, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Social Work, Tygerberg Hospital, Tygerberg, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Vanker, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Children's Hospital, PO Box 19063, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa; aneesa{at}


Introduction Home tracheostomy care for children in South Africa dates back to 1989.

Objective This study aimed to describe the tracheostomy home programme at Tygerberg Children's Hospital (TCH), situated in a resource-limited setting in Cape Town, South Africa.

Design Retrospective descriptive study.

Setting Tracheostomy home programme at TCH. The primary care giver is trained by nurses.

Results Fifty-six children (29 girls) were discharged to the home programme (47 to home and 9 to institutions). The median age at tracheostomy was 3 months, mainly for airway obstruction. The mean duration of home care was 26.6 months. Twenty-seven children (43%) were successfully decannulated. Seven children lived in informal housing. The 56 children generated 745 social work contacts. The overall survival was 82%.

Conclusion Children with tracheostomies can be safely cared for at home, even in a resource-constrained environment, provided training, appropriate technology and social support services are available.

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  • Funding AV is funded by the Nycomed South African Thoracic Society Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Committee for Human Research of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.