Gentle (non-trach) Suctioning

If you have to suction your child, even just on occasion, you know how hard the suction catheters and tips can be. The suction catheters are hard plastic narrow tubes that we use to go in a trach, or into the airway through the mouth or nose. When we used these with Casey she did not have a trach so we would feed them through her mouth, into her throat to find whatever it was that we needed to clear for her. She needed suctioning a LOT. When we had to use the catheters frequently we would not be surprised when we would see spotting (small amounts of fresh blood).

Then there is the yanker, ugh that thing is awful! In the hospital when Casey was a baby they had these wonderful soft tipped oral and nasal suckers. Luckily the hospital sent us home with a handful. When our DME sent us our monthly suction supplies I was horrified that they wanted us to use the long hard plastic yanker with the huge claw at the end. No way!!!!

We found the number on the soft tips from the hospital and called the company that makes them. Neotech quickly became our favorite company (and still is). They sent us samples and then they worked with our DME to make sure that we could get the soft tips, and that insurance would cover them. If you need help getting the softer tips, call Neotech and see if they can help you as well.

Once we got the soft tip issue resolved we still had to deal with the hard catheters. Then one day we had been admitted to the hospital and our nurse did something I had never considered. Casey did NOT have a latex allergy- if your child does have a latex allergy this is not an option for him/her. Our nurse pulled out these soft, flexible, red catheters. The catheters were not for suctioning, but were general purpose (mainly used for help with urination). These catheters also did not have the numbers on the side like the suction catheters nor did they have the thumb valve, so at first I was a little unsure about how she was going to get these to work. The wide end of the catheter slipped perfectly over the end of the soft suction tip (letting us use the sucker as the thumb valve). Then we fed the catheter down Casey’s airway just as we did with the hard plastic catheters. Since we did that so often we knew how far to go without needing the numbers.

We needed a letter from our doctor explaining why the general purpose catheters worked better for Casey than the suction catheters, but once that letter was sent to insurance everything was covered. From then on, all of our suction tools were gentle and there was no more spotting.