Cynthia Bissell

In July of 1993, our identical twin sons were born 3 1/2 months too soon. Both boys had many of the problems common among premature infants. Eric's most significant problem is spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy (CP). Aaron's problems are mostly respiratory: bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and acquired subglottic stenosis. His airway was damaged from the ventilator tube when he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The ventilator saved his life, but no medical procedure is done without the possibility of complications. Aaron had his tracheotomy surgery at one month of age because of acquired subglottic stenosis. His condition was complicated by BPD and he was oxygen dependent for several years. After three months in the NICU, the twins finally came home.

I was often housebound for the first few difficult years, caring for two sick, fragile infants. I turned to the Internet for information and support. My computer became my link to the outside world. While there was a lot of information available about CP, I could find virtually nothing about tracheostomy care. Since I enjoy working with computers, I'm a registered nurse and the mother of a child with a tracheostomy, I decided to publish pertinent tracheostomy information on the Internet. I dedicated this site to Aaron and named it Aaron's Tracheostomy Page. In 1996, Aaron's Tracheostomy Page was published to the web and it has continued to grow and expand over the years. When I first started this tracheostomy web site project, I had no idea how popular Aaron's Tracheostomy Page would become! Obviously, there was a need for this type of resource and for a way for parents of kids with tracheostomies to network.

Being told that your child needs a tracheostomy can be devastating for parents. Families are usually frightened and apprehensive about their child having a tracheostomy and they may question their ability to care for a child who is technology-dependent. My hope is that this practical step-by-step guide will help to ease some of the anxiety related to caring for a child with a trach and help to assure the highest quality of home care for children with tracheostomies. A well-informed family will usually experience less anxiety. This is a nonprofit venture to make useful and needed information available to families.

Through extensive research and by consulting dozens of parent and professional experts, I have attempted to follow typical standards of care for pediatric tracheostomy home care. However, it is important to remember that every child is different. This site describes a general approach for home care of a child with a tracheostomy, but should not be used as a substitute for seeking professional advice. Always consult your physician regarding tracheostomy care.

I would also like to thank all of the parents who have shared their children's stories, feelings and experiences with myself and others through biographies on the site, the message boards and listserv. While information is a necessity, what often helps parents most is to know that they are not alone.