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BC Children’s makes trach-care breakthrough

The T7 unit at BC Children’s can now treat patients with tracheostomies, meaning two-year-old Penny Long and her mom, Sophia, got to look out a window at the hospital and watch the birds while receiving treatment, rather than being in intensive care.
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​Patient Penny Long and her mom, Sophia, Clinical Nurse Educators Chelsea Leishman and Melissa Fleck, and Program Manager of Inpatient Care Units Mark Ramsey

Staff and physicians at BC Children's Hospital have made a giant leap in care by treating their first patient with a tracheostomy on the T7 medical inpatient unit, instead of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where beds are limited.

Penny was the first patient with a tracheostomy treated on T7 last month. She needed treatment for a respiratory issue and would previously had gone to the PICU for care, but the staff and physicians on T7 worked hard to prepare to treat patients with tracheostomies within their unit.

"A tremendous amount of work has occurred over the last year to ready T7 for this new patient population," says BC Children's Program Manager of Inpatient Care Units Mark Ramsey. "We have such an awesome team who worked so hard to make this happen. It really couldn't have gone better."
The right care in the right place

Penny has a rare genetic syndrome, resulting from a mutation in the KAT6B gene. It has left her with a tracheostomy and kidney issues that had her in the PICU for 47 days last year.

"I think being able to take Penny to T7 for treatment is amazing," says Sophia. "We're very comfortable being anywhere, really. It was just better not have a nurse watching us all day, like they need to do in intensive care. Being able to sit at the window and eat our lunch together was really nice."

Now patients with tracheostomies will be receiving the level of care they need in the most appropriate place.

"The PICU can be a pretty heavy place," says BC Children's Clinical Nurse Educator Chelsea Leishman. "T7 has the school room, the play room and Fizzy the Clown or pet therapy dogs who come by."

Another advantage for families to be T7 is it has better accommodations for parents staying overnight, including private washrooms with a shower/bathtub, fridge, and cot for sleeping.

A major effort for a big change

Clinical nurse educators developed education materials, revised policies and procedures, and led education sessions to ensure the nurses were ready.

"This has been a big project," says Chelsea. "There's been people involved from intensive care, professional practise, T7, respiratory therapy and physio therapy. To put the scale of the project in perspective, every single nurse on T7 is getting trained. We have about 100 staff members, and that's not including the physicians or other allied health team members that have also received education to care for this new patient population."

Mark says everyone is working well together to ensure BC Children's is providing the highest standard of care for patients with tracheostomies.

"I think this is a great example of a major change in clinical practice, implemented safely and thoughtfully," he says.

SOURCE: BC Children’s makes trach-care breakthrough ( )
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