Actionable research materials to support better tracheostomy care National Tracheostomy Safety Project

This project was funded between March 2017 and April 2018.

  • Project led by the National Tracheostomy Safety Project (NTSP).
  • Aimed to improve the safety and care of people with tracheostomies in intensive care units, wards and the community.
  • Developed and disseminated high-quality, professional resources to deliver key messages to frontline practitioners around basic tracheostomy care, emergency actions and communication with tracheostomy patients.

Tracheostomies are used in people who have various medical problems, usually due to distorted upper airway anatomy or critical illness. 

The NTSP has researched problems with tracheostomies in intensive care units, wards and the community. This demonstrated the significant impact that sub-optimal care can have on patients.

This project involved translating the messages from the NTSP research into accessible resources for all frontline staff who care for patients with tracheostomies or laryngectomies.

A campaign strategy was developed, built around understanding the target audiences, developing high-quality content to convey key messages, and targeting frontline staff through social media, and via professional organisations and events.

The team worked with a digital media agency to develop a comprehensive picture of the target audience and how to reach them. A mix of short and longer videos were developed, supported by blogs, narratives and quizzes/surveys to capture attention, direct people to the website and encourage the downloading of resources.

The videos captured different elements of tracheostomy care, including the patient’s perspective. A video that focused on the emotional aspects of not being able to communicate was particularly successful in terms of audience engagement.

A paid social media campaign reached nearly half a million users in three months and there were 600,000 social media impressions of the videos and resources. There has also been significant engagement through conferences, articles and peer-to-peer sharing of the resources.

Independent assessment of the initial plans led to the resources being very different to what was originally envisaged – this was crucial in determining what the right content to make was.

Contact details:

Dr Brendan McGrath, National Tracheostomy Safety Project Lead, NHS England, [email protected] 

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