This project was funded between March 2017 and April 2018.

  • Project led by the National Tracheostomy Safety Project (NTSP).
  • Aimed to improve the safety and care of people with tracheostomies in intensive care units, wards and the community.
  • Developed and disseminated high-quality, professional resources to deliver key messages to frontline practitioners around basic tracheostomy care, emergency actions and communication with tracheostomy patients.

Tracheostomies are used in people who have various medical problems, usually due to distorted upper airway anatomy or critical illness. 

The NTSP has researched problems with tracheostomies in intensive care units, wards and the community. This demonstrated the significant impact that sub-optimal care can have on patients.

This project involved translating the messages from the NTSP research into accessible resources for all frontline staff who care for patients with tracheostomies or laryngectomies.

A campaign strategy was developed, built around understanding the target audiences, developing high-quality content to convey key messages, and targeting frontline staff through social media, and via professional organisations and events.

The team worked with a digital media agency to develop a comprehensive picture of the target audience and how to reach them. A mix of short and longer videos were developed, supported by blogs, narratives and quizzes/surveys to capture attention, direct people to the website and encourage the downloading of resources.

The videos captured different elements of tracheostomy care, including the patient’s perspective. A video that focused on the emotional aspects of not being able to communicate was particularly successful in terms of audience engagement.

A paid social media campaign reached nearly half a million users in three months and there were 600,000 social media impressions of the videos and resources. There has also been significant engagement through conferences, articles and peer-to-peer sharing of the resources.

Independent assessment of the initial plans led to the resources being very different to what was originally envisaged – this was crucial in determining what the right content to make was.

Contact details:

Dr Brendan McGrath, National Tracheostomy Safety Project Lead, NHS England, 

About this programme


Evidence into Practice


A programme to help research teams bridge the gap from academic research findings, to actionable...

You might also like...

Press release

Today's data show COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on how people seek care

Press release

Health Foundation response to NHS England performance statistics for March. 

Working paper

'Hospital mergers increase death and harm'? Not so fast…

Working paper

This paper examines the claims made in the CMA working paper on the impact of hospital competition...

Improvement project

Harnessing data analytics to maximise NHS learning from patient safety incident reports

Improvement project

This project will develop and test analytical strategies to inform the design of quality improvement...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

RT @Gummifot: I’m excited to share the results from a study I’ve been working on as part of the #ImprovementAnalytics Unit at @HealthFdn. I…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more