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The Breatheasy Tracheostomy & Ventilation Homecare Programme

The Problem

For many children the simple act of breathing is difficult or impossible. Children with severe breathing difficulties require tracheostomies (a hole in their throat to breathe) or permanent ventilation. Tracheostomy patients around the world characteristically face lengthy hospital stays: without homecare programmes and family training, anxious parents and their children may be separated from one another for long periods of time.

The Solution

The Breatheasy Tracheostomy and Ventilation Homecare Programme is a unique specialist nurse-led initiative at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital that has been has been caring for children with a wide range of respiratory disorders for over two decades. The programme empowers parents of children, reliant on a tracheostomy or artificial ventilation for breathing, to provide safe care for their children at home, significantly improving their quality of life.

Through careful training and support of families, the Breatheasy programme ensures that children with tracheostomies instead return home to their families and communities, as soon as they are medically stable. Once home, they are monitored as outpatients by the programme, while family members take responsibility for routine day-to-day medical care (such as changing and suctioning the tracheostomy tubes). Breatheasy’s training enables families to provide homecare equivalent to that of a professional nurse in the tertiary health sector. The equipment necessary for homecare is provided by the Breatheasy programme to families.

The Breatheasy programme is recognised both locally and internationally as an exemplary model of healthcare provision for chronically-ill children.

How you can help

The Trust has supported this special programme since 2012, raising R1million per annum. Donor funds are used to purchase vital medical equipment such as ventilators, suction machines and humidifiers.

This is an ongoing project with life-saving medical equipment consistently needed for patients.

For more information on this project please contact Chantel Cooper.