Pediatric Tracheostomy app helps kids and parents understand life with a trach

Purpose of App Review

To review the medical accuracy and helpfulness of the Pediatric Tracheostomy app for patients and families.

Introduction

Getting a tracheostomy or going home with one can be a scary experience for both a child and parents. Older children especially may feel self-conscious about having a trach and how their life may be different with a trach in place.

The Pediatric Tracheostomy app is a project of the University of British Columbia and the otolaryngology division at B.C. Children’s Hospital. The app serves to inform kids and parents about tracheostomies, living with a trach, and tracheostomy care.

User Interface

The app is user friendly all around, beginning with a short video introduction by an adolescent girl with a trach.

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Tapping Trach Topics in the main menu of the app leads you to the meat of the app. A concise list of topics is available for the user to explore, as shown below.

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Each of the topics provides useful, accurate information in an easy-to-follow format that helps users understand what a trach is, parts of a trach, relevant anatomy, and reasons to place a trach.

The sections are brief so they won’t overwhelm the user and many include videos of children with trachs. They are also written in a relatively jargon-free manner, avoiding medical words or at least explaining them where necessary.

Clinical application

This application is extremely useful in providing a basic overview of trachs and their care. Besides being useful for patients and parents, it could also be useful for nursing or medical trainees who want a brief primer on tracheostomies for pediatric patients.

The What is a Tracheostomy? section gives just a very brief summary on trachs, how they are placed, and how they help children breathe.

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Trach Tube Components shows various trach configurations with labeled parts. Tapping on each label then takes the user to an explanation of the part.

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The Respiratory Anatomy section is also neat, providing a simple anatomical model with a trach in place. Users can tap on the icons to get additional information about each anatomical structure. They can also view the anatomy in an MRI view and CT reconstruction.

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Why Do We Need It? provides a great outline and examples of some of the most common reasons trachs are placed. This section is a great launching pad for questions and discussions with the child’s healthcare provider about the child’s specific need for a trach, if this is still unclear.

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Life With Tracheostomy is perhaps one of the most important sections in the app. It addresses many common concerns about a trach, including effects on the child’s ability to speak and swallow. It also reassures parents that in most cases, a trach does not restrict a child’s ability to be active in sports or social activities. To prove its point, this section includes a video of a child with a trach playing soccer.

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The last section, Trach Care, teaches parents about the main components of trach maintenance such as suctioning, securing the tube, and changing the trach tube. A video of suctioning technique is included but the app warns the user to consult with the child’s medical team for specific techniques and questions.

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Users can view more advanced topics on YouTube from the app’s main menu.

Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Free!
  • Simple overview of pediatric trachs presented in a clear manner
  • Does not attempt to replace advice or discussion with physician
  • Multimedia use and videos

Dislikes

  • None

Healthcare providers who would benefit from the app

  • Any provider caring for children with tracheostomies
  • Nursing or medical trainees looking for a very basic primer on trachs

Patients who would benefit from the app

  • An older child or teen with a tracheostomy
  • Parents or caregivers of a child with a trach

Conclusions

  • This is a fantastic app for doctors to recommend to families with children who have trachs, or older children and teens who want to learn more about their trach. It is simple, written in clear language, easy to understand, and its use of multimedia boosts users’ understanding.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

iTunes Link

Rating: (1 to 5 stars)
Overall: 5 stars
User Interface: 5 stars
Multimedia usage: 5 stars
Price: 5 stars
Real world applicability: 5 stars

Author:

Brittany Chan

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