Tracheostomy Group to meet Minister

Groups seeks implementation of 2008 protocol on babies’ discharge from hospital

A group advocating for the families of “tracheostomy” babies will today call on Minister for Health James Reilly to implement a 2008 HSE protocol for the infants’ “safe and timely” discharge from hospital

A group advocating for the families of “tracheostomy” babies will today call on Minister for Health James Reilly to implement a 2008 HSE protocol for the infants’ “safe and timely” discharge from hospital

Wed, Nov 27, 2013, 01:00

A group advocating for the families of “tracheostomy” babies will today call on Minister for Health James Reilly to implement a 2008 HSE protocol for the infants’ “safe and timely” discharge from hospital.

The Tracheostomy Advocacy Group is meeting the Minister and representatives of the HSE this afternoon. It has been calling for a national protocol on the discharge of babies with tracheostomies, with a dedicated unit within the HSE for the delivery and management of homecare packages.

Earlier this month The Irish Times highlighted the situation of seven babies in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, who, having had tracheostomies, were well enough to go home but could not as the HSE was refusing to sanction safe homecare packages. A number of babies were facing their second Christmas in hospital.


‘Crisis level’
Colm Young, the founder of the the group, said the situation had reached the “the worst crisis level ever”.

Tracheostomy babies, who have had a tube inserted into their tracheal wall, or windpipe, to enable them to breathe, require 24-hour specialised care, including having their tubes changed, cleaned and suctioned.

Parents are trained before their children are discharged but homecare packages are required to ensure 24-hour cover and allow parents to sleep and attend to other responsibilities.

Mr Young has described increasing delays in the HSE sanctioning funding for packages, lack of clarity as to the criteria parents must fulfil, disparities between and within HSE local areas on which families get packages, and problems with the management of packages after babies go home.

He will today ask Dr Reilly to implement a draft protocol, drawn up by the HSE in 2008, which he says would go a “huge way to resolving difficulties”.