View Full Version : At What Age Can A Child Suction Him/Herself?
04-29-2010, 02:32 PM
My nurse asked me this question and I'm curious to know (even though for Ainsley I'm sure it won't be any time soon). Obviously children with motor skill difficulties would have a much harder time. I'm curious if any of our kids have been able to do it themselves and at what age. TIA!
04-29-2010, 03:54 PM
I think it really depends on the child, Sam was never able to suction himself and he was 6 when he was decanned, though I seem to recall Angus having a go when he was about 3. I think if the child has no issues other than the airway then they can probably be taught. And like all developmental skills, I suspect girls may be ready to learn earlier than boys
04-29-2010, 06:05 PM
Angelo was 6 when he started to suction all by himself, but with me there just in case. It makes it so nice in the car when he could do it himself. He would "HELP" before that by me inserting the cath and him covering to make the suction.
Angelo has no cognitive delays and knows when he needs to be suctioned.
Nathan was actively "helping" at 3, but he was not comfortable doing it completely by himself. He would hold our hands and lead them right up to the trach and try to get the catheter in the cannula. He could walk over to the suction machine and get out the catheter, attach it to the tube and turn on the machine.
04-29-2010, 09:37 PM
Celia started "helping" when she was about 4-5,,significant delays but sure knew what the suction machine was all about. She decides when she wants suctioned,,gets the suction machine,,turns it on,,sometimes puts the catheter in herself(after a few tries to hit the hole lol and barely getting in the part that sticks out) while I have my thumb over the hole on the cath,,most of the time I am the one that has control of the cath though.
04-30-2010, 01:01 AM
i can suction myself only with miror
04-30-2010, 09:18 AM
My daughter just turned two and she is really trying to suction herself. She thinks it's a fun game. First she tries to create secretions by coughing, then runs over to the suction machine, grabs the catheter, attaches it to the tubing on the machine, pretends to turn on the suction machine, and then starts putting the catheter very close to the trach. It's very funny and cute, however, she doesn't have any sense of germs and sanitizing, so it makes me nervous that she'll touch the catheter to other stuff and then get it in her trach. We are trying to set boundaries but she's a fiesty two year old and doesn't like to be told "no". I'm also glad she's not strong enough to turn on the suction machine yet--otherwise we would hear that thing go off constantly.
04-30-2010, 06:38 PM
I taught Angus at 3, and he could do it fine, but he was a bit slow and after the novelty wore off, he lost interest. I've been encouraging him to do more himself again because he is nearly 6 and he really needs to get more independent.
05-01-2010, 08:37 AM
Robin is 12 and doesn't suction himself yet. He takes responsibility for coughing up his secretions into a tissue or paper towel whenever possible (through his trach though, mostly the don't come through his mouth and when they do, he finds it gross), but when he needs a suction, he is usually coughing so hard that it's better to have someone doing it for him. He does his own inhaler, knows how to change the regulator on the O2 tanks, can identify if there is a hole in the tubing, trouble shoot lots of vent problems etc. so I'm pretty happy with his level of independence that way. We do have one nurse that pretty much wants him to do all of his own care, but with her, it's more that she wants to sit and read a book at school all day, rather than about him!
Mackenzie's 19mo and has pieced together that the suction cath goes in her trach. A few days ago she took off her HME and was pointing the tip of the cath at the opening of the trach. We ask her to help us do things, like put her HME on, take it off, etc so I think suctioning herself is the next step... although we won't try that for a while yet.
05-03-2010, 12:49 PM
I might have a different attitude then others. But I was never in a rush to teach Abby to sx herself. My thinking was her airway was good, I didn't want to risk that she might deep sx herself. Even though Abby is 9 and her trach is now gone. I thought that if the trach was a forever thing then I would have taught her how to do it, since she would need to be ind. some day.
I just thought that she really is just a kid and she should be doing kid things.
Sx'ing is my job. She needed to be taking out the garbage and putting away the dishes. She is able to take her own sats.
Like I said if the trach was a longer term thing then I would for sure had taught her.
Hi, my 6 year old has a muscle weakness yet he has good fine motor skills and im sure he could probably suction himself if it was placed in an accessible place to him. However i couldnt trust him to be hygenic yet, i think its important they can sanitise their hands and control keeping the catheter clean before they are left in charge:)
05-03-2010, 02:04 PM
Heather was about 2 1/2 when she started showing an interest in trying to suction herself but at 3 she now tries it on everyone in our family.....to her we all have to have trachs:)
05-04-2010, 07:06 PM
Thanks guys. It sounds like there aren't a ton of kids doing it themselves. I can see concern over hygeine and suction depth. And like you say Nad, it might be tricky to do without a mirror. I'll let the nurse know. I think he wants to know for job security. :p He doesn't have anything to worry about.
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