Rationale: Expansion of chronic ventilation options and shared decision-making have contributed to an increasing population of technology-dependent children. One particularly vulnerable group is children with tracheostomy who depend on technology for basic respiratory functions. Chronic critical care is now provided in the homecare setting with implications for family caregivers.Objectives: This study explores the experience of family caregivers of children and young adults with a tracheostomy during the transition from hospital to home care. We sought to identify the specific unmet needs of families to direct future interventions.Methods: We recruited a convenience sample of families from an established home ventilation program to participate in semistructured interviews. Sessions were conducted in person or via teleconference. A grounded-theory qualitative analysis was performed.Results: Between March 2017 and October 2018, we interviewed 13 individuals representing 12 families of children and/or young adults with tracheostomy. Patients ranged in age from 9 months to 28 years, had a tracheostomy for 8 months to 18 years, and represented a variety of underlying diagnoses. Five key themes emerged: 1) navigating home nursing; 2) care coordination and durable medical equipment (DME) impediments; 3) learning as a process; 4) managing emergencies; and 5) setting expectations.Conclusions: Our findings support the need for family-centered discharge processes including coordination of care and teaching focused on emergency preparedness.
Keywords: experience; family; home care; qualitative; tracheostomy.