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A tracheostomy tube decreases the ability of the patient to communicate effectively. The ability to speak provides an important improvement in the quality of life for a patient with a tracheostomy. In mechanically ventilated patients, speech can be provided by the use of a talking tracheostomy tube, using a cuff-down technique with a speaking valve, and using a cuff-down technique without a speaking valve. Speech can be facilitated in patients with a tracheostomy tube who are breathing spontaneously by use of a talking tracheostomy tube, by using a cuff-down technique with finger occlusion of the proximal tracheostomy tube, and with the use of a cuff-down technique with a speaking valve. Teamwork between the patient and the patient care team (respiratory therapist, speech-language pathologist, nurse, and physician) can result in effective restoration of speech in many patients with a long-term tracheostomy.
- Correspondence: Dean R Hess PhD RRT FAARC, Respiratory Care, Ellison 401, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston MA 02114. E-mail: .
Dean R Hess PhD RRT FAARC presented a version of this paper at the 20th Annual New Horizons Symposium at the 50th International Respiratory Congress, held December 4–7, 2004, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Copyright © 2005 by Daedalus Enterprises Inc.