Pragmatic Recommendations for Tracheostomy, Discharge, and Rehabilitation Measures in Hospitalized Patients Recovering From Severe COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
West TE., Schultz MJ., Ahmed HY., Shrestha GS., Papali A., COVID-LMIC Task Force and the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit (MORU) None.
New studies of COVID-19 are constantly updating best practices in clinical care. However, research mainly originates in resource-rich settings in high-income countries. Often, it is impractical to apply recommendations based on these investigations to resource-constrained settings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We report on a set of pragmatic recommendations for tracheostomy, discharge, and rehabilitation measures in hospitalized patients recovering from severe COVID-19 in LMICs. We recommend that tracheostomy be performed in a negative pressure room or negative pressure operating room, if possible, and otherwise in a single room with a closed door. We recommend using the technique that is most familiar to the institution and that can be conducted most safely. We recommend using fit-tested enhanced personal protection equipment, with the fewest people required, and incorporating strategies to minimize aerosolization of the virus. For recovering patients, we suggest following local, regional, or national hospital discharge guidelines. If these are lacking, we suggest deisolation and hospital discharge using symptom-based criteria, rather than with testing. We likewise suggest taking into consideration the capability of primary caregivers to provide the necessary care to meet the psychological, physical, and neurocognitive needs of the patient.