Eating with a Trach Tube
Tips for Eating and Swallowing
- Follow all instructions provided by your doctor or speech therapist
- Keep mealtimes relaxed
- Sit up straight
- Take small bites, less than 1 tsp per bit
- Chew well and swallow before taking another bit
- If you have a cuffed trach tube, ask your doctor if you can deflate it.
- If you have a speaking valve, use it while you eat since it will make it easier to swallow.
- Suction the trach tube before eating. That will keep you from coughing.
- Drink plenty of fluids. They help keep your mucus this and prevent build up.
- Be aware that your sense of smell may be affected since you are not breathing through our nose and this may affect the taste of foods.
When to get help
- If you aspirate food (breathe it into your airway), stay calm. Try to suction the food out through your trach tube. If you can’t remove the food, call 911 right away
- Difficulty or refusing to eat
- Over-reaction or no reaction to food in the mouth
- Choking and coughing while eating or drinking
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Excessive drooling
- Evidence of food in tracheostomy secretions
- Large amounts of watery secretions from trach
- Congested lung sounds